The planet is changing rapidly, and in a way that doesn't bode well for Earthlings. Climate change may seem complicated or like a far-away thing that doesn't matter to your daily life--but it DOES. It’s here, happening now, and already jeopardizing the things we need for survival. You just have to know where to look.
huffingtonpost.comAbstract art at Burning Man? Nope, these are empty boat slips protruding from an abandoned dock at Nevada's Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lake Mead is North America's largest man-made reservoir, storing water for millions of people across seven states. Well, it used to anyway.
climate.nasa.govProlonged drought has also caused a dramatic drop in Lake Powell's water level. Lake Powell is another Southwestern reservoir that supplies water to millions of homes in Arizona and Utah. These NASA images show the northern part of the lake, which is actually a deep, narrow, meandering reservoir that extends from Arizona upstream into southern Utah. The left image, from 1999, shows water levels near full capacity. The image on the right, taken in May 2014, shows the lake has dropped to 42 percent of capacity.
California is losing the battle against the drought too.
ecowatch.orgCalifornia supplies almost 100 percent of America’s carrots, avocados, strawberries, almonds, grapes, etc. Lots of livestock, too. But because of the drought, California’s topsoil moisture and subsoil moisture reserves are nearly depleted and the state’s rangeland and pastures were rated 70% very poor to poor on July 27. As a result, food prices are on the rise. If you've never thought about climate change as a threat to food security, it’s time to start.
This drought isn't only affecting the Southwest.
In fact, it's just a warning of what climate change could do to the entire country, and eventually, the planet. As this NASA video explains, the past decade has been the hottest ever recorded since global temperature records began 150 years ago. A big part of this temperature increase is due to greenhouse gases emitted by human activities, like burning fossil fuels in our cars and power plants.
Planet Earth has a fever, and we’re gonna need more than cowbell to cure it.
climate.nasa.govArctic ice also stores a ton of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that’s bad for human health. Without the glaciers and polar ice caps, we’re like a bologna sandwich in a cooler with no ice on a hot summer day--headed for the trashcan.
A hotter, more toxic atmosphere isn't the only negative consequence of melting Arctic ice.
businessinsider.comAs the glaciers and ice sheets turn from solid to liquid, sea levels are rising. This means things that didn't used to be underwater--like island nations and beachfront properties--are getting wet.
Recently, every rainy season in the San Blas Islands brings massive flooding as a result of rising ocean levels caused by global warming. In the foreground, a traffic sign reading "Slow Down" is partially submerged.
And what if polar ice melts completely, as many scientists say it will if we can’t stop climate change?
confluence.furman.eduOcean acidification is the direct result of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from fossil fuels. When CO2 dissolves in water, carbonic acid is formed. This acid decreases the ability of many marine organisms (like the coral above) to build and maintain their shells and skeletal structures.
Scientists say the warmer, toxic nature of the ocean could be what's causing massive fish die-offs around the world.
usatoday.comScientists say that the bloom was caused by heavy rainfall that washed larger than normal amounts of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants into the lake. As climate change progresses, severe precipitation, in places that don’t usually get lots of rain, will become more common. This puts every single lake, river, and stream in jeopardy of the same algae bloom that recently devastated the Great Lakes region.weather.com
Speaking of extreme weather, it’s not only rainfall that’s becoming sporadic and weird.
slate.comResidents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines. More than 10,000 dead in what weather experts called one of the strongest storms in recorded history.
huffingtonpost.comLet’s start acting like we care about what kind of planet we’re leaving to our kids. Perhaps most importantly let’s start holding lawmakers responsible, and demand decisions that will help us survive and thrive in the decades to come.