Warnings and statistics surrounding climate change are everywhere. Species extinction, habitat destruction, rising sea levels, drought and natural disasters present tangible evidence of mankind’s assault on the planet. Below are a few recent photographs from all around the world that powerfully illustrate the devastating consequences of climate change.
There is a fake skyline for tourists to take photos in front of in Hong Kong, because the real one is covered by smog.
The shrinking of the Aral Sea is said to be one of the earth’s worst environmental disasters. It was formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world. By 2006, it had shrunk to 10 % of its original size. In 2014, NASA declared that the entire eastern basin had completely dried up. Today the eastern basin is called the Aralkum desert. Below is a comparison of the Aral Sea in 1989 (left), and 2014 (right).
A young boy swims in algae filled water in Shandong Province. The widespread and increasing proliferation of algae is a huge environmental concern caused by warming waters. Algal blooms deplete the oxygen levels in water, causing the death of marine life.
A huge dust storm hits Arizona. One form of natural disaster that is becoming more and more common as a consequence of climate change.
Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya catches a wave in a remote but garbage-covered bay on Java, the world’s most populated island.
A child sleeps in the middle of a flooded street in Chongqing during an outbreak of torrential rain in 2010, that killed dozens of people.
A picture of illegal coal pickers by photographer Peter Caton. They return home raiding the open coal mines in Jharia, amidst the toxic fumes that are released by the underground burning coal. The Jharia coal mine was once a treasure trove of high-quality coking coal. However, uncontrollable fires have turned the mine and the surroundings into a slow-burning inferno. Before coal was unearthed in this area, Jharia was a belt of dense forests inhabited by tribes.
Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. However, the lake has not reached full capacity since 1983 due to drought and increased water demands. Here you can see an old pier leading to nothing, where deep waters once reached.
A journalist collects a sample from waters ravaged by industrial pollution in 2012.
A crab carcass sits on a dried-up reservoir near Seoul in the midst of a severe drought in 2012, exacerbated by uncharacteristically warm temperatures.
Mitzi Richards and her granddaughter take a walk along a boat dock that she owns. It rests in the dried lake bed of California’s Huntington Lake. Water levels in the lake began falling during the 2012-2015 North American drought. By mid 2014, the lake was a third of its normal level.
An old sign next to a dried up lake near Condobolin.
A parking lot full of vehicles swallowed by the surging waters of the South Platte River flood in Colorado in 2013.
A heart-breaking picture captured by photographer Kerstin Langenberger of a starving polar bear. When she found the bear, it was stranded on an ice float, which has become an increasing problem as warming temperatures continue to melt the arctic ice. For the polar bear to survive in the wild, the arctic must remain extremely cold and largely covered in ice year-round. They cannot survive without sea ice, using it to raise their young, to travel and as a platform for hunting seals – their primary food source.
Buildings are shrouded in smog on December 8, 2013 in Lianyungang, China. The heavy smog worsened air pollution so much that schools were forced to close.
Notorious street artist Banksy makes a bold statement with this graffiti on a wall by London’s Regent’s Canal.
With so many confronting images that confirm the diverse and ubiquitous effects of climate change, hard to believe some still debate its existence. With so many natural disasters and unprecedented shifts in weather conditions, it’s clear that humankind needs to make major changes to avoid dire consequences. But people around the world are taking action. In May this year, the largest coordinated, global act of civil disobedience in history took place across six continents as part of the climate movement. Read our article on the Break Free actions to learn more about climate crisis facing our world today, and how you can join the fight for a more sustainable world.