You can almost understand why that is — trying to care about something that you think might affect us in a few hundred years or more is so hard, right? And it still snows a lot every year, so that obviously doesn't mean the Earth is warming, right?
The problem is that the effects of climate change are a lot closer than many people realize. Many landscapes, plants, and animals are in danger of not existing in the next 100 years. So in an effort to keep reminding people of the very real, impending threats that climate change poses, here are a few things we're at risk of losing in the near future.
- Coral reefs The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that coral reefs, like this one found on the Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, are in danger of bleaching and infectious disease due to atmospheric warming. (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
- Polar Bears The de facto icons of the climate change movement, polar bears, are still very much at risk. According to the National Wildlife Foundation, polar bears face an increasing scarcity of food, have fewer sea ice platforms to roam, and therefore the overall population is declining — fast. Because of that, the US Geological Survey projects that two-thirds of polar bears will disappear by 2050. (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
- Glaciers With temperatures rising, glaciers around the world are melting into the oceans. Sea ice already floats in the oceans, but the melting of land ice is a major contributor to rising sea levels. Slate's Phil Plait reported last year that a study found Greenland and Antarctica are losing a combined 450 billion tons of ice each year. (EPA)
- The Iditarod Not only did race organizers have to re-route this year's Iditarod multiple times, they were forced to bring in snow by the truckload to the town where it started. (Frank Kovalchek/Flickr)
- Tropical getaways Climate change warnings commonly evoke images of melting glaciers, but many tropical oases like the Maldives (pictured above) and the Republic of Seychelles are in danger as well. A sea level rise of just three feet, an amount the UN has estimated is reachable within a century, would make the Maldives uninhabitable.
- Coffee National Geographic reported last year that climate change is accelerating the growth of a fungus that is killing off Central American coffee crops. (Steve Snodgrass/Flickr)