Since our introduction to this planet, we have not brought much good to it. 2017 was the second hottest year since 1880, when global measurements first became possible. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reported that 2017 was the third-warmest year they have ever recorded. Our planet is warming remarkably uniformly due to human emissions of greenhouse gases. Mankind is using up resources faster than nature can replenish. This is causing rapid changes, way before scientists predicted they would happen. The Arctic ice is melting at a far quicker rate than anticipated. This list is about nature sending us a dire warning to start making a change. It’s never too late.
1. The ambient temperature in Arizona has reached 120°F, and 130°F in Kuwait.
Temperatures approached 120°F in parts of the southwest U.S. this year. The extreme heat not only affects people on the ground but also affects flights. During extreme heat, some flights such as the Bombardier CRJ airliner, cannot take off from Phoenix, Arizona. This is because these airliners have the maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees while bigger planes from Airbus and Boeing can handle 126 degrees or so. The highest temperature in Kuwait, 54°C, was recorded in Mitrabah in July 2016.
2. In January 2018, it was unusually cold in Florida, causing iguanas to fall from trees.
In January 2018, the National Weather Service in Miami said temperatures dipped below 40°F (5°C). The sudden change in temperature caused iguanas and alligators to go into a state of anabiosis. Although alligators are well-adapted for such extreme changes in temperature, iguanas aren’t that cold-resistant. Extremely cold temperatures can be deadly to these animals. When the temperature fell below 40°F, the cold-blooded reptiles went into a deep sleep. Their body basically shut off and they lost their grip on the tree that they were hanging on to. Thankfully, this iguana was discovered by Geoff Campbell, who took it inside his house and revived him.
3. It snowed in the Sahara Desert. Really.
The Sahara Desert, the hottest desert in the world, endured a freak snowfall in 2017. The closest town, Ain Sefra, Algeria, hadn’t seen snow in nearly 40 years until it happened for the first time this century, in 2017. The area has a searingly hot average high temperature of 100 degrees in the summer.
4. A starving Siberian tiger came out of its natural habitat in search of food.
The Siberian tiger, also called Amur tiger, was spotted outside its natural habitat. Illegal poaching and hunting is forcing these animals to move out of their territory in search of food. Siberian tigers are not the only ones who are exhibiting this behavior. Massive deforestation and urbanization is forcing many animals to become desperate and flee forests in search of food and water.
5. China engulfed by smog. The only thing visible is a light-up billboard.
95% of the products that we use are made in China. The country strives to manufacture products for western countries, and in turn, has created one of the biggest issues they could imagine. A shockingly low number of Chinese cities meet the country’s air quality standards. The country’s Ministry Of Environmental Protection measured air quality in 70 different cities, and found that only 8 of them met the proper standards. Hazardous plumes of smog fill the air and interrupt daily life. China’s air pollution is so bad that it is visible from outer space.
6. Gijón, a city in Spain during a forest fire. This image was captured at 10 a.m.
In the U.S., an average of 100,000 wildfires were recorded in 2017. These forest fires clear 4 million to 5 million acres of land every year. Statistics show that four out of five wildfires are started by humans and our careless attitude towards fire. Meanwhile, cigarette fires cause close to 1,000 deaths and 3,000 injuries each year in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
7. A Russian lake turned pink due to pollution.
A lake in Stavropol, south-west Russia, turned pink overnight due to pollution from a nearby chemical factory. Concerned environmental activists gathered around the lake to collect samples and posed the harrowing images on social media. Investigators are narrowing the cause to be the chemical factory, which has been in operation since the Soviet Union. This causes us to ask the question: How many factories are dumping pollutants into our lakes without our knowledge?
8. An overcrowded beach in Rio de Janeiro.
For years, experts have warned us about the unstable growth of human population. Today, the population is accelerating at an even greater rate than previously expected. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) states that the world’s population could exceed 9.9 billion by 2050. There are an estimated 7.6 billion people today, and according to the PRB record, the most rapid population growth within the next 35 years is expected to be in Africa.
9. A seahorse holding a Q-tip shows how polluted our ocean’s really are.
This image should actually scare us. It shows how horrible the ocean floors really are. Justin Hofman was on his dream vacation in the Indonesian archipelago when he spotted a seahorse. As Hofman was photographing the seahorse, the tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. In his Instagram post, he writes:
“It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts along with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet? ”
10. Whales choke on plastic debris.
8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans, and that figure could increase by tenfold over the next 10 years if we don’t act immediately. According to a new study published in the journal Science, 192 countries situated along an ocean coast are the worst offenders of this crime. The 192 countries altogether generated 275 million metric tons of plastic waste in 2012 alone. Tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals and turtles are killed every year from plastic bag litter in the marine environment, as they often mistake plastic bags for food such as jellyfish.
What advanced measures can we take to help mother nature?
An art installation depicting a dead whale choked by plastics was unveiled on the beach of Naic, Cavite, South of Manila, in 2017. Greenpeace Philippines seeks to underscore the massive problem of plastics pollution in the ocean.
Today, we are more aware of the harmful side effects of plastic and how it affects the ecosystem, however, we need to take more measures and instate laws forbidding the use of plastic straws, cups and bags. Scientists are working on solutions to convert plastic into materials that can be reused for generations. Let’s hope that our efforts to keep this planet clean and safe will stop the predictions from coming true.