I wanted to do something a little different with this post. Last time I shared with you why I think a lot of people don’t believe in Climate Change, despite the science very clearly saying that it’s real. Despite the evidence, people only believe something when they see it, or it directly affects them. (Or, sometimes, they’ve hid their heads so far underground that their ignorance knows no bounds). In this post, I wanted to share some pictures about Climate Change, and the way it’s affected the world over the last 100 years.
Climate Change in Pictures: The Effects on our Environment
Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
The Mendenhall Glacier has been melting since its peak in the small ice age in the 1700’s. Since then, it’s been shrinking as global temperatures rise.
The glacier has retreated 2800 meters since 1910 and continues to retreat. This is according to National Geographic, who’s photos clearly show the trim line on the mountainsides where the glacier used to be is evident.
The Mendenhall visitor center has taken it on themselves to start talking to tourists about preserving the glacier, also referred to as America’s Icebox. Thankfully, the glacier is somewhat stable due to the temperature still allowing for hot air to be precipitated into snow. But if temperatures keep rising, even this last little grace won’t be enough to save Mendenhall Glacier.
Various Glaciers, Svalbard, Norway
Christian Åslund, a Swedish photojournalist who works with Greenpeace, took several historic photos of glaciers in Svalbard, Norway from the Norwegian Polar Institute. He then went on a trip to take pictures of the exact same locations and compared them with recent photos.
The results are shocking, to say the least. Beautiful glaciers are retreating or are almost completely destroyed. Christian did the series to raise awareness about the effect of drilling for oil on glaciers, as well as the effects of climate change.
It’s heart-breaking to see how much we’re losing, while knowing that the process is just speeding up.
Starving Polar Bear, Arctic
Obviously, this isn’t the same polar bear from 2009, but the image still has a striking effect. It was famously taken just before the polar bear in the bottom died from exhaustion and starvation.
It clearly shows the effect of climate change. As glaciers retreat and food sources get destroyed or driven away, Polar bears find themselves starving.
The prey they’re supposed to be able to hunt is gone, and the glaciers that allow them to travel, are melting.
This is one of the saddest and most emotional pictures for me, because it shows a very cruel reality. Is it really okay for animals to starve and die painful, suffering deaths, because of our actions?
Rhône Glacier, Swiss Alps
The Rhone glacier is the largest glacier in the Urner Alps of central Switzerland. It covers six square miles and is the source of the Rhone River – that river flows into and feeds Lake Geneva. It’s a very popular tourist destination, especially due to its beautiful ice cave, and the locals heavily rely on it to sustain their economy. However, with climate change, the ice has retreated 4,600 feet in the past 150 years. In fact, it’s been said that the Rhone glacier is extremely sensitive to any changes in the global climate.
In desperation, the locals have started to cover the glacier with special fleece blankets during the summer months, to try and prevent the ice from melting.
It’s an expensive and time-consuming process, largely funded by the locals themselves. It’s a kind of dedicated that we’d be hard-pressed to find in the world today.
General Climate Change
The first picture is the Amazon Rain forest, suffering heavily from deforestation. Considering that the forest is known as the Lungs of the Earth, it doesn’t bode particularly well for us.
The next set is air pollution in Beijing. From having such a beautiful skyline, to not being able to breath the air around you…
That’s followed by blanching in the Great Barrier Reef. The coral is dying, leaving many creatures without a home and without food, and wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem.
Finally, we have the Northern White Rhino, which is considered functionally extinct. That’s because there are only two left, both in captivity, and both female.
The point I’m trying to make is that Climate Change is real. More than that, it’s having a massive effect on our home, but people would rather continue to be ignorant and do nothing, than to face the facts.
I think… that might be the saddest thing of all.
What are your thoughts? Which of these pictures stood out the most to you?
Until next time, stay Greenish!