Often times we are blind to what is happening around us. Just because we cannot see the effects of pollution and over-stripping the Earth of her resources in our own backyards, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a very serious concern. Closing our eyes to these issues is not going to help the problems go away. The world used to be an absolutely beautiful place, but that beauty is slowly being pushed out by the trash of mankind. We are consuming more than what this Earth can handle and pretty soon the Earth will no longer be able to sustain mankind. Here are 27 pictures that will open your eyes to the serious danger that our very existence is in.
1. This once beautiful elephant was killed for her ivory and her body was left to rot. Between poaching and loss of habitat the African Elephants are in serious danger of extinction. In less than 100 years, the elephant population has gone from 4 million elephants to about 500,000 elephants left in the world today, and more and more elephants are killed daily. Making it illegal to buy ivory has only increased the value because it is more rare and people covet rare products. We need to stop the demand for products made of ivory because where there is no demand there is no reward for harvesting it from elephants.
2. This is the rainforest going up in flames, which is driving out a herd of goats that used to graze in the rainforest. Did you know that scientists believe that 70% of anti-cancer plants come from the rainforest? It is in humanity’s best interest to protect the rainforests!
3. This is a picture of the London’s sky’s which show how much air traffic they get daily. It is reported that air traffic is responsible for over half of the pollution caused by transportation, according to a report released by the UN.
4. This haul truck is loaded with hundreds of tons of oil sand. Oil sand is said to be the energy source of the future, however harvesting this oil sand is a leading cause of deforestation and is the largest contributor in North America to climate change.
5. This is a herd farmer in Mongolia who cannot stand the smell of the Yellow River which is so bad that its pollution content is 100 times higher than the national standard. This pollution can be attributed to the waste water emitted by three nearby paper mills and a chemical plant near the river.
6. This is a waste incineration plant near Bangladesh. These plants are a viable option to dealing with our trash, however they can emit harmful pollutants into the air that can affect human health. It’s important that we recycle in order to limit what goes into the incinerators.
7. A fire in Colorado takes down everything in its path. Increased wildfires are a direct result of climate change.
8. The results of oil sand mining. This is in Alberta, Canada but that is not the only place they mine for oil sand.
9. Downtown Los Angeles. The energy consumption in such densely populated cities is unimaginable. Just think the impact they could have on the environment if everyone in LA would remember to turn off their lights when they leave the room.
10. A forest that has been in Oregon for over a thousand years was devastated when it was decided that a new dam was needed in this area. Just think of the animals that lost their homes because of the selfishness of mankind.
11. These are greenhouses as far as the eye can see near Almeria, Spain.
12. Similar to the African Elephant, Wild Siberian tigers are in danger of extinction. Approximately 97% of the species has been wiped out by poaching in the last century. There are fewer than 3,200 left in the world today.
13. This is the Mir Mine, the largest diamond mine in the world located in Russia. When you see the beauty in a stone, like the diamond, you never think of the destruction caused to the Earth that went into searching for it.
14. In the remains of a decomposing Albatross, we see what happens to much of our litter.
15. This is a bird’s-eye view of New Delhi, and its 22 million inhabitants!
16. This Maldives island is being threatened by rising sea levels.
17. The greed of the consumer is not only killing the environment, but each other. This is a picture of the Black Friday rush at an electronics store in Idaho.
18. Out with the old, in with the new. A pile of old technology that has been thrown aside because it’s out of date. Not only do these discarded monitors affect the environment but the metals are stripped from inside with harmful chemicals.
19. Deforestation in Canada. It’s so sad to see what remains where once beautiful forests thrived. We are just starting to feel the effects that destroying thousands of years of plant life will have on us.
20. Landfill of tires in the deserts of Nevada. Tires pose a danger to the environment because of dangerous toxins released when they decompose and also when they are incinerated. We need to support companies who recycle old tires instead of letting them wind up in landfills.
21. A heat and power station burns near Fukushima with little effect from efforts to put the flames out.
22. The carcass of a polar bear in Svalvard, Norway who starved to death due to the disappearing ice caps caused by global warming. Polar bears depend on the ice in order to hunt.
23. This is an oilfield in California. A prime example of humans selfish need to squeeze every last drop of profit out of the Earth. It saddens me that this may happen to the beautiful green pastures of North Dakota, where a current oil boom is taking place!
24. This waterfall is all due to ice melt from glaciers. Proof that climate change is having a dramatic effect on nature much faster than most people think.
25. A lignite power plant emitting tons of pollutants into the air. The sad thing is that lignite, which is similar to coal, doesn’t even produce that much heat.
26. This wave in Indonesia shows the extent of debris and trash in our oceans.
27. This is a picture of the overdeveloped metropolis of Mexico City which has over 20 million residents.
Now that you realize what our over-consuming is doing to our once beautiful planet, we each need to start doing our part. Even if you think one person can’t make a difference, it’s still worth trying. If each insignificant person tries to waste less, our combined efforts can add up to make great changes. So next time you need to get the mail, walk instead of drive. Promote paperless businesses, use reusable water bottles instead of disposable, or bring your own thermos to your favorite coffee place instead of using the styrofoam cups provided. Make sure you are recycling all that you can even if your city doesn’t have trucks picking up recycling bins. It might be easier to throw recyclable goods in the trash but doing what is easy is part of the problem. We must all do something, because doing nothing isn’t an option.