natgeoVideo: @andy_mann // Cuba’s rare crocodiles are in trouble. Primarily preferring freshwater over saltwater, the Cuban Crocodile (critically endangered) is the most terrestrial of all croc species and it’s slightly larger neighbor, the American Crocodile (seen here with @natgeo photographer @cristinamittermeier) is moving in. With healthier populations, and preferring saltier water, The American Crocodile’s range is increasing as sea levels rise and Cuba’s freshwater habitats become more and more brackish. We had the unique opportunity to spend several days in the water with this beautiful specimen: gently floating along the surface, gliding through the seagrass or squeezing in and out of the mangroves. After learning our boundaries and taking the time to observe this individual’s behavior, we were over-joyed to have such a close working proximity well into the evening hours. What an honor and privilege to be working in “Garden’s of the Queen” Cuba, have such a powerful experience and to be able to share it here with our followers.
Badlands National Park is not in defiance of the president, they are in support of the American People. They don’t work for him, they work for US. Climate change is a direct threat to our national resources, and the most severe threat facing our parks today. This is not a political issue, this is not Democrats vs. Republicans, this is data-backed endangerment of our open spaces and federal lands. If a building is deemed structurally unsound, you fix it, you don’t claim that scientists are lying to you about serious fatigue in the load-bearing members, or else it comes crashing down around you. Climate change is no different, nobody has ever tried to claim that forest fires are a myth invented by the Chinese.
Author Jeff Goodell says that American cities are under threat from extreme weather, rising sea levels and lax enforcement of environmental regulations.
“These hurricanes, the storms that we’ve seen this season are an indicator that we’re moving into this new age when these old rules of how our climate works are off-the-table, and Mother Nature is playing by different rules now,” Goodell says. His new book is The Water Will Come.
Say what you will about climate change (I mean, it’s 110% real) but you’d be naive to think the effects of Harvey weren’t exacerbated by it (think: rising sea levels, warmer temps, higher frequency of natural disasters). Harvey isn’t a one-off; we need to be prepared for what’s coming next…
In partnership with San Diego State University, Tumblr is launching Scholars of Change, an op-ed series dedicated to featuring the voices of academic experts on the issues most impacting our communities.
Sea Level Rise and Social Equity
Climate change and accompanying sea level rise could put millions of homes in the U.S. underwater by 2100. Florida and Louisiana will be the states most affected, but even in California, hundreds of thousands of homes may be at risk with property losses estimated in the $100 billion range. The disastrous impacts of sea level rise depend to a large extent on the population’s vulnerabilities which are intensified for certain communities of low-income or color. Not only do these communities lack the political capital to influence decisions on where and who to protect, but social inequalities also increase both the exposure and severity of vulnerable groups to an array of climate hazards such as excessive heat and air pollution. Therefore, the effects of sea level rise will be seen in the poorest neighborhoods. Because sea level rise is occurring slowly and because the poorest communities have the least economic and social mobility, they will be the ones remaining (the last to leave) as their property values fall in the face of both flooding and weakening market demand. Steve Lerner tells the sad story of the burdens of toxic pollution on low income and minority communities in his book “Sacrifice Zones.” He argues that although chemical manufacturing and hazardous waste impacts everyone, vulnerable commutes will experience the largest burden. Unless we as a society (and government) stop putting our collective heads in the sand, and start devoting time and resources to building climate resiliency and promoting social equity in response to this climate change time “bomb”, these new forms of climate change “sacrifice zones” will become all too common.
Want to take Action? Here are some organizations that fight for climate change reform
Late at night on February 16, fifteen black-footed albatross chicks made
a special landing at Honolulu International Airport. These former residents of
Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial were
flown from the remote atoll and then transported from the airport to their new
home at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, on the north shore of Oʻahu.
small, fluffy chicks are part of a pioneering effort to establish a new
albatross colony in the main Hawaiian Islands. Black-footed albatross nest only
on low-lying islands and are at risk of losing their nesting habitat due to
rising sea-levels and increasing storm surges…
It is raining so you take an umbrella with you. When you step outside the sun breaks through, it is now a beautiful day. You walk two more steps and it starts snowing. You are not surprised. You are never surprised anymore.
A tourist asks you if you are German. You were talking Dutch. You and the tourist are in Amsterdam.
There are trees in your street. You do not know who planted them. You do not know who cares for them. The trees are, and it is accepted.
When you leave the supermarket there are children waiting for you
. They stare with hungry eyes. You try to walk past them but they follow. They are too fast. They want your football cards and they will stop at nothing to get them.
You go to France for your holiday. Your friends are not excited for you when you tell them. You always go to France. Everyone does.
A tv show about a clown and an acrobat was your childhood. You do not understand why you watched the show. You don’t remember what it was about. The clown and the acrobat were old.
The lady on the speaker says you have to wait five more minutes for your train. You wait five more minutes. And five more. And five more. The lady on the speaker is back. She says the train won’t come because of the snow. You look around. You hadn’t noticed the snow. The snow is less than a centimeter thick.
Your international friends are discussing their cultures. You want to join the conversation but you can’t. You can only think of cheese.
Coffeeshop au’s confuse you. You thought those were illegal outside of the Netherlands.
You attend your English classes. You know you never learned a single thing from them. You speak English.
You and everyone you know will drown if the sea level rises. People laugh about this. People laugh about the scared tourists.
You laugh too.
Silly tourists. You’re not scared. You don’t think about it. You haven’t thought about it in years. The sea as a threat is a forbidden subject. You sleep uneasy.
Sea levels are rising and climate scientists blame global warming. They predict that higher seas will cause more coastal flooding through this century and beyond, even in places that have normally been high and dry.
But mapping where future floods will strike has barely begun.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency maps where people are at moderate or high risk of flooding. Most people with property in hazardous areas — where the annual risk of a flood is one in a hundred or more — are required by law to buy federal flood insurance from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
But FEMA’s insurance maps are based on past patterns of flooding. Future sea level rise — which is expected to create new, bigger flood zones — is not factored in.
So some communities are doing the mapping themselves. Like Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland.
In this July 16, 2017, photo, the sun rises on a “ghost forest” near the Savannah River in Port Wentworth, Ga. Rising sea levels are killing trees along vast swaths of the North American coast by inundating them in salt water. The dead trees in what used to be thriving freshwater coastal environments are called “ghost forests” by researchers. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
They’re called “ghost forests” — dead trees along vast swaths of coastline invaded by rising seas, something scientists call one of the most visible markers of climate change.
The process has happened naturally for thousands of years, but it has accelerated in recent decades as polar ice melts and raises sea levels, scientists say, pushing salt water farther inland and killing trees in what used to be thriving freshwater plains.
Efforts are underway worldwide to determine exactly how quickly the creation of ghost forests is increasing. But scientists agree the startling sight of dead trees in once-healthy areas is an easy-to-grasp example of the consequences of climate change.
“I think ghost forests are the most obvious indicator of climate change anywhere on the Eastern coast of the U.S.,” said Matthew Kirwan, a professor at Virginia Institute of Marine Science who is studying ghost forests in his state and Maryland. “It was dry, usable land 50 years ago; now it’s marshes with dead stumps and dead trees.”
It is happening around the world, but researchers say new ghost forests are particularly apparent in North America, with hundreds of thousands of acres of salt-killed trees stretching from Canada down the East Coast, around Florida and over to Texas.
Our planet is constantly changing,
and we use the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of Earth, improve lives and safeguard our future.
These images show change over
time, with periods ranging from centuries to years. Some of these effects are
related to climate change, some are not. Some document the effects of
urbanization or the ravage of natural hazards such as fires and floods. All
show our planet in a state of flux. Take a look…
Expansion in New Delhi, India
Between the times these two images were taken, the
population of India’s capital and its suburbs (known collectively as “Delhi”)
ballooned from 9.4 million to 25 million. It is now second
in population only to Tokyo, which has 38 million people.
Salt Lake Shrinkage, Utah
in the area of the Great Salt Lake over the past 25 years. The lake was
filled to near capacity in 1985 because feeder streams were charged with
snowmelt and heavy rainfall. In contrast, the 2010 image shows the lake
shriveled by drought. The Promontory Peninsula (protruding into the lake from
the top) is surrounded by water on three sides in the first image, but is
landlocked on its eastern side in the second.
Early Ice Melt, Greenland
Meltwater streams, rivers and lakes form in the
surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet every spring or early summer, but melting
began exceptionally early in 2016. Melting encourages further melting when
pods of meltwater develop, since they darken the surface and absorb more
sunlight than ice does. Surface melt contributes to sea-level rise when the
water runs off into the ocean.
Lake Urmia Changes Color
Some combination of algae and bacteria is
Iran’s Lake Urmia from green to red. The change typically occurs when
summer heat and dryness evaporate water, increasing the lake’s saltiness. Data
from satellites indicate that the lake has lost about 70% of its surface area
over the last 14 years.
Lake Degradation, California
Owens Lake lies in the Owens Valley between the
Sierra Nevada and the Inyo Mountains, about 130 miles north of Los Angeles,
California. For thousands of years, it was one of the most important stopover
sites in the western U.S. for migrating waterfowl and shore birds. However, in
the early 20th century, the lower Owens River, which fed the lake,
diverted to the Los Angeles aqueduct. Water from springs and artesian wells
kept some of the lake alive, but toxic chemicals and dust impinged on the
regional environment and disturbed the bird habitat.
Rafi Deforestation, Niger
Rafi Forest is the most significant area of woodland in the Maradi
Department of Niger, a west African country on the southern edge of the Sahara
Desert. These pictures show the loss of a significant fraction of the natural
landscape (darker green areas) of the forest to agriculture. Population in this
region quadrupled during the 40 years leading up to the 2007 image.
River Evolution, Mexico
These two pictures illustrate the extremes
of water flow in the Colorado River since measurements began in the late
1800s. The 1985 image was taken in the midst of record high flow, while the
2007 image shows the driest period. Excessive rains or severe droughts directly
change the amount of water available in the Colorado River Basin, and so does
the increasing pressure of human needs throughout the western states.
Glacier Melt, Greenland
Along the margin
of the Greenland Ice Sheet, outlet glaciers flow as icy rivers through
fjords and out to sea. These pictures show a fjord in which Helheim Glacier (on
the left) is crumbling into large and small icebergs (light blue, on the
right). The glacier outlet held steady from the 1970s until about 2001, then
began to retreat toward its source about 4/7 miles between 2001 and 2005. The
glacier’s flow to the sea has also sped up.
Lake Poopó, Bolivia
Lake Poopó, Bolivia’s second-largest lake and an
important fishing resource for local communities, has dried
up once again because of a drought and diversion of water sources for
mining and agriculture. The last time it dried was in 1994, after which it took
several years for water to return and even longer for ecosystems to recover.
on the Ganges River, India
rains have caused catastrophic flooding along the Ganges and other rivers
in eastern and central India. At least 300 people died and more than six million
were affected by the flooding, according to news reports. These images show a
stretch of the Ganges near Patna.
All of this knowledge about our home planet enables
policy makers, government agencies and other stakeholders to make informed
decisions on critical issues that occur all around the world. From rising sea
levels to the changing availability of freshwater, we enable studies that
unravel the complexities of our planet from the highest reaches of Earth’s atmosphere
to its core.