Global warming is a major problem that’s only getting worse. The industrialization of our society has been depleting the planet’s natural resources for over a century, causing increased pollution and rapidly changing weather patterns.
Now, the effects of climate change are being felt all over the globe, and perhaps the most frustrating thing about all of this is that pollution is often so preventable. With enough awareness, hopefully we could put a stop to it soon.
Thankfully, photographers have begun to capture just how bad things have gotten. Their work serves an important reminder that we only have one planet Earth…
1. It’s common knowledge that pollution is a major cause of global warming, and one look at Mexico City—which is one of the most densely populated places in the world—shows us why. With so many people packed into a small space, much more energy is consumed and released into the atmosphere.
2. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, and roughly four million people are crammed into the capital of Port-au-Prince. With so much overcrowding—not to mention that much of its farmland was wiped out from the devastating Hurricane Matthew in 2016—the tiny country’s land can’t seem to recuperate.
3. New Delhi, the capital of India, has a staggering 25 million inhabitants, and it’s overflowing with landfills and dust as a result. It’s a real shame that such an important city has to struggle with these kinds of problems.
4. Los Angeles, California, which sits inside the largest county in the United States, uses an alarming amount of electricity to power the city on a daily basis. Seeing it at night almost makes it look dystopian.
5. With so many people on our planet, we have developed technology to help sustain life as we know it, but this had led to disastrous consequences for Earth. Just look at the waste left behind by this incineration plant in Bangladesh.
6. This giant plant in Canada was built for processing oil sands. It’s really quite horrifying to think that there was such a need for this kind of machinery in the first place, let alone that it’s still in regular use.
7. Another Canadian oil sands development plant can be seen from high above the ground, demonstrating just how much the facility alters what would have otherwise been an absolutely stunning natural landscape.
8. In rural Oregon, an entire forest was mowed down to make way for a new dam. Infrastructure like dams is important, but it definitely raises the question of whether or not they are worth so much deforestation.
9. Meanwhile, in British Columbia, Canada, entire mountains have been ruined by mass deforestation. It’s sad to think that this particular mountain was once covered by lush greenery—and all the critters that thrived in it—before humans interfered.
10. This giant diamond mine in Russia is the largest in the world. It’s an impressive feat of human engineering in its own right, but there’s still the question of how it’s affecting the Earth’s natural resources.
11. This vast oil field in California stretches for miles on end, rendering the land beneath it thoroughly lifeless. It should not be forgotten that oil is a nonrenewable resource. Eventually, it’ll all run out.
12. These cattle are all part of a massive industrial fattening facility in Brazil, which is actually responsible for a great deal of pollution. That’s in addition to the moral questions some commonly bring up regarding this sort of practice.
13. In this picture, emissions from a plant in the United Kingdom darken the sky that surrounds it. It’s really quite frightening to think that air pollution has gotten so bad that it can literally blot out the sun.
14. Similarly, these streaks of vapor show how the heavy air traffic over London, England, can leave its mark. It may be a regular part of life for many city folk, but that doesn’t mean that it should be.
15. This chaotic scene from Black Friday shows how much people value a good deal. This may not necessarily show environmental pollution, technically, but one could argue that this kind of greed leads to pollution. Just think of all the electricity required for those big screen TVs!
16. As most people go about their day-to-day lives, just trying to make ends meet, they don’t usually think about how much trash they’re leaving behind. Just look at these tires strewn about in the Nevada desert.
17. Old discarded electronics often get dumped in developing countries even though they contain toxic metals. It’s important for people in all parts of the world to be careful about disposing their electronic equipment properly.
18. This talented surfer in Indonesia rides a wave filled with garbage. That’s a real shame, because if it weren’t for all of this trash, this could actually have quite the impressive, beautiful photo!
19. This river in Indonesia is proof of how pollution affects the world’s waterways. As a matter of fact, there’s an entire island—yes, an actual, literal island—in the North Pacific Ocean that is, without exaggeration, made out of garbage discarded by humans and carried there by the ocean’s currents.
20. When animals consume this trash (which they can’t help from accidentally doing), they frequently die slow and painful deaths. That is the horrifying fate that this unfortunate bird had to suffer, as you could see from the contents of his stomach.
21. Sadly, some human beings intentionally kill endangered animals, like this elephant in Kenya. There are differing opinions around the world regarding the ethics of killing animals at all, but most people agree that endangered species should be off-limits.
22. This Amur tiger, to name just one example, is one of the rarest big cats of its kind in the entire world. Sadly, this one was killed by poachers for its prized pelt, for which they could likely sell for an impressive sum of cash.
23. This kind of destructive behavior is quickly catching up to humanity. Pollution has been exacerbating unusual and unnatural weather patterns that are wreaking havoc all over the globe, from hurricanes to tsunamis.
24. In China, the high pollution surrounding the Yellow River gives off an unbearable smell that is only going to get worse if major steps aren’t taken to ensure that the rampant pollution finally ends.
25. In Colorado, rising temperatures have given way to an increase in wildfires all over the state, forcing thousands of people out of their homes. One could only imagine what it must feel like to lose so much because of pollution.
26. Here, cattle continue to graze just feet away from the treacherous blaze coming towards them. These helpless animals truly have nowhere else to flee in order to save themselves. Pollution and manmade natural disasters harm more than just humans!
27. Because of climate change—most likely caused by pollutants in the atmosphere—these glaciers are melting rapidly. That’s going to cause some major problems sooner than many people may think, as it leads to rising sea levels, which in turn causes mass flooding and related issues.
28. At the same time, rapidly melting glaciers are resulting in depleted territory and food supplies for animals like this polar bear in Svalvarde, Norway. Ultimately, it will cause many animals to eventually starve to death.
29. Soon, entire countries could be completely underwater due to rising sea levels, like the island nation of the Maldives. Time is running out for humanity to change its course and do what it can to stop this kind of damage.
30. But all hope is not lost! Some people are doing their part to turn the tide from damaging the planet. In Almeria, Spain, 10,000 greenhouses were built to help cool the area and provide a sustainable food source.
This is just one small step, but we need to take much more drastic action if we want to protect our planet for generations to come. If each one of us is more conscious about the amount of energy we consume and the waste we produce, then we can make a big difference in helping Earth become a safer place.
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