Visualizing How Much We’ve Changed Earth
It’s often hard to visualize the effects humans have on the plant. We spend most of our time indoors and mostly in our local environment. Technological advancements have given us many comforts and have helped improve the overall living conditions of life on earth. These advances have also brought increased consumption and major changes to our planet.
The photo below is a great example of how there aren’t many places left that we haven’t touched.
Being so disconnected from nature, we often lose the scope of our actions to the ancient ecosystems of plants and animals.
To help make the current situation more real, we have compiled some excellent maps that have been created to show the effects we are having on the earth.
Pollution of our Oceans & Waterways
Water is arguably the most valuable resource on earth that we often take for granted. It is powerful and alive. Rivers worldwide are heavily polluted to the point where some major rivers and water sources have been categorized as “dead rivers.
Sailing Seas of Plastic has created a map that shows just how much pollution is floating in our oceans.
The Ocean Cleanup shows how much river plastic emissions are draining into the world’s oceans.
In Southern CA, you can see firsthand this impact every day. It’s tough to walk the beach without having to dodge trash or tar, and most days, the water isn’t even safe to swim in.
If you live on the West Coast, there is a beach report card provided by Heal the Bay. Those on the East Coast Save The Sound have created three maps for those in the Long Island Sound area.
It's insane even to think those are words we need to be using about our oceans.
Here in America, we are fortunate to have livable air quality where, maybe only a few days a year, we hear a warning that the air is unhealthy, but that is a different story across the world.
IQAir has live air quality updates for the world.
Southern CA, by far, has the worst air quality in the U.S., and there are many days when you can’t see the sky clearly because of the haze from pollution.
Airnow.gov has a fire and smoke map that shows the current situation. Depending on the time of year, the depiction on this map looks much different, summer being the worst.
This affects the air we breathe and the acidity of the ocean. The oceans have played a pivotal role in helping suck up and disperse the increased amounts of CO2 that humans dumped in the atmosphere.
The Monitoring Acidifaction Project in New England has created several resources to track and show live ocean acidification.
We as a society are deeply intertwined with our forests. They provide a vital part of the lifeblood that we live on. Our journeys into their vastness provide us great solace from the air we breathe, the wood in products and homes. Our forests are pivotal to our survival as a society, and forests are suffering and losing ground across the world.
Global Forest Watch and its platform give users the tools/data for monitoring forests. They provide great information on how forests are changing around the world.
Also, If you live in CT, many don’t know that about 100 years ago, the whole state was deforested. Learn more about that here.
One thing that has recently become more common is coral bleaching events.
Due to human intervention, coral reefs are under threat to what is known as coral bleaching. Bleaching happens when coral is placed under environmental stress from human activities such as temperature changes, pollution, ocean acidification, and overfishing. These events disturb the symbiotic relationship between algae & coral, causing them to unhinge, exposing the coral’s bright white calcium-carbonate exoskeleton. Bleached coral, while still alive, becomes vulnerable. They contain less energy and become more prone to disease.
Esri has compiled data and created a map of reefs.
Unfortunately, when you look at the map, nearly all reefs have been labeled a watch, if not worse.
The sum effect that all these issues are causing is species extinction. Fish can’t survive without the reef or swimming in toxic water; animals can survive without the forests or by breathing poisoned air.
Eris has created a great map to show the localized species extinction in British Columbia.
On top of that, Our incessant craving for fish as a main source of protein affects fish populations. Increasing numbers of fish and shellfish have been depleted, where hatcheries and farming are needed to revive the local population.⠀
Global Fishing Watch has created a map to show the current fishing impact across the globe.
These are just some maps we could find, but many more show the damage we have done to the earth. If only it were easier to find maps of how we have increased earth’s share.
Being Part Of The Solution,
At Natural Dividends, we believe you can make a difference with your actions. Passionate about one of the things outlined above, reach out to the organizations and see how you can help with your time or dollar.
Amplify Your Voice!
Taking on the mission for yourself? Let us know about it! Join us on social media and share your journey and stories with us on Facebook and Instagram. Post your success on Instagram and tag us #naturaldividends #increasenaturesshare. We might share your story and help inspire others to make the jump to increase nature’s share.