The viral challenge “10yearchallenge” quickly turned into something unexpected. Instead of sharing how they changed in 10 years, people started to publish photos of the Earth. The images do not always reflect an interval of 10 years: it can be three, five or 100 years; but it does not matter: it’s all about drawing attention to environmental issues, raising awareness and encouraging people to take action to save our planet.
Here are some of the pictures that WittyBubbles has compiled for you. Do not miss our bonus, it contains an ambitious future prediction!
1. Rhone Glacier, Switzerland
These last 10 years have seen the Rhone glacier melt rapidly. It has been reduced by 40 meters since 2008. To safeguard it, the Swiss government has decided to start covering the area with UV-resistant blankets. Experts believe this will help reduce ice melting by up to 70% in the summer.
2. Amazonian forest, South America
The Amazon region suffers severely from deforestation. Between 2017 and 2018, nearly 7,900 km2 of forests were destroyed, most of them illegally.
3. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Climate change causes a bleaching massive corals caused by “abandoned” algae by coral polyps. This leads to starvation of corals, and if the algae do not end up coming back, to their death. This can affect about 25% of ocean species, as corals are home to hundreds of thousands of crustaceans and other creatures.
4. Sanaa, Yemen
This challenge is not just about environmental problems. People living in areas like Sanaa , where there is constant conflict, show how beautiful their cities are and how affected they are by the events that have occurred over the years.
5. Global warming in Alaska
Alaska is probably one of the regions that suffers the most from global warming. Increased levels of carbon dioxide have raised temperatures, resulting in early melting of the pack ice, and shrinking glaciers.
6. Global warming for polar bears
Although this photo may seem exaggerated, it reflects the problem well. The polar bears also suffer from global warming. As the summer warms up and the amount of ice falls, bears lose their main hunting grounds (ice trays) and their main source of food, seals.
Decades ago, the Arctic Ocean was covered with ice, even in summer, which gave bears great hunting opportunities. In 2012, the ice covered 50% less, and the situation could worsen in several decades.
7. Plastics in the world’s oceans
Scientists estimate that there are about 8.2 million tonnes of plastic polluting the ocean each year, or about 82 million tonnes per decade! No wonder our poor oceans look like giant garbage cans.
A recent expedition led by the famous Richard Branson discovered that the plastic had even reached the bottom of the Great Blue Hole!
8. Manta Point, Bali
As can be seen, the interval between these two photos is only four years, which makes the transformation even more frightening. The second photo was taken by Rich Horner, who decided to enjoy a day of diving in Manta Point.
Manta Point is generally not polluted by such a quantity of plastic. According to Adriana Simeonova , staff member of Rich and Aquamarine Diving Site, the water was clean the day before and after the shoot. This means that all these bags and bottles move with the currents at a fast pace, and no one knows where they will appear next time if they are not eliminated.
9. Aral Sea (Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan)
The Aral Sea is a salt lake on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It began to decline in the 1960s, when the Soviet government decided to use the Amu Darya and Syr-Daria rivers, which fed the lake, to irrigate the desert. In the 2000s, the lake was divided into North Sea and South Sea, and in 2014, the eastern part of the South Sea completely dried up . The picture on the right was taken in 2000 and the one on the left in 2014.
10. Deforestation in Borneo
This photo shows the consequences of growing oil palm. These plants love hot, humid tropical climates, so primary forests are destroyed to create space for new plantings. Oil palm cultivation accounts for 47%
Because of global warming, the Caribbean coast of the French island of Guadeloupe is almost buried under an incredible amount of brown algae called Sargassum . It all started in 2011, after the high water temperatures in 2010 caused a change in direction of currents and winds, spewing tons of algae from Brazil to the Caribbean coast. According to experts, 2018 has been the worst year so far.
12. Solar energy is flourishing
But there is also good news! Solar Power Europe reports that solar power plants have become the fastest growing energy source in the world. 500 gigawatts of solar panels have been installed since early 2019, almost 32 times more than in 2009 (16 GW).
13. Boschendal Farm, South Africa
The Boschendal farm is another reason to rejoice. According to the WWF , the past 10 years have brought some remarkable changes. We went from a dry dam lake and the disappearance of wildlife to the awakening of the earth in 2018.
Bonus: a bold prediction, a desire or a plan of action?
Environmental issues and good news are not the only things to remember from this decade-long challenge. National Geographic has created a “Centennial Challenge” and suggested that the oceans be cleared of plastic by 2119: a bold foresight and a plan of action to which we can all contribute! Let’s help Nat Geo realize this dream!
Do you agree that our planet needs help to solve these problems? If you have other topics that deserve to be addressed as part of the # 10yearchallenge challenge, do not hesitate to tell us about it in the comments!
Cover photo Greenpeace / Instagram