Heroes

16 terrifying pics of Spain's growing desert you should show a climate-change doubter.

If nothing changes, southern Spain will be a desert by 2100.

16 terrifying pics of Spain's growing desert you should show a climate-change doubter.

If you're headed to the beach in southern Spain, this probably isn't what you're envisioning:

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

In July, this duo was spotted sunbathing at the Entrepenas reservoir in Duron, the second largest reservoir in Spain.

And the pics really are worth a thousand words.


Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

The reservoir has shrunken dramatically as water levels drop.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

The receding water has given way to cracked, arid soil...  

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

...and abandoned relics reflecting a region that once revolved around life on the water.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Like the reservoir itself, tourism, and the local economy that benefits from it, are drying up too.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

So, what the heck is going on at the Entrepenas reservoir? Where has all the water gone?

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

The area's severe drought and dusty countryside are indicative of a larger force shaping landscapes across southern Spain.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Yep, you guessed it: climate change.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

A 2016 study spelled disaster for the lush Mediterranean region due to human activity.

By 2100, southern Spain will have transformed into a desert, researchers have found — unless drastic measures are taken, like, now, to slash carbon emissions to curb the worsening effects of global warming.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

“The effect of the human is to deforest, to replace with agriculture and so on," lead author of the study, Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University, told The Guardian last year.

"You change the vegetation cover, the albedo, the humidity in the soil, and you will emphasize the drought when you do that," he continued, noting the Mediterranean is already very susceptible to the consequences of a warming planet. "If you have the [direct] human impact, it will be worse."

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

You don't have to be in southern Spain to see the alarming effects of climate change, of course.

In the U.S., researchers have pointed to similar dismal findings when it comes to global warming's impact on things like domestic tourism, expenses related to natural disasters, and food production.

Scientists, however, have not found a friend in the White House.

Unlike other prominent world leaders, President Trump has publicly rebuked the vast majority of climate scientists who say global warming is real and humans are to blame. He appointed Scott Pruitt — who's argued that the science surrounding climate change is still up for debate — to run the EPA. He's hellbent on resurrecting a dying, dirty coal industry and, in June, announced plans to pull the U.S. out of the world's best hope to collectively confront the woes of global warming: the Paris climate agreement.

Why doesn't Trump care?

Mother Nature certainly doesn't care about our national borders.

Similar consequences seen in southern Spain can also be seen in the U.S. and around the world.

Wildfires scorch the land near Santa Barbara, California, in July 2017. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

We need to act. Now.

Or else sad-looking beach day photos will become the norm.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

To learn more about climate change and to take action, visit the Sierra Club.

Pexels.com
True

June 26, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter. Think of the Charter as the U.N.'s wedding vows, in which the institution solemnly promises to love and protect not one person, but the world. It's a union most of us can get behind, especially in light of recent history. We're less than seven months into 2020, and already it's established itself as a year of reckoning. The events of this year—ecological disaster, economic collapse, political division, racial injustice, and a pandemic—the complex ways those events feed into and amplify each other—have distressed and disoriented most of us, altering our very experience of time. Every passing month creaks under the weight of a decade's worth of history. Every quarantined day seems to bleed into the next.

But the U.N. was founded on the principles of peace, dignity, and equality (the exact opposite of the chaos, degradation, and inequality that seem to have become this year's ringing theme). Perhaps that's why, in its 75th year, the institution feels all the more precious and indispensable. When the U.N. proposed a "global conversation" in January 2020 (feels like thousands of years ago), many leapt to participate—200,000 within three months. The responses to surveys and polls, in addition to research mapping and media analysis, helped the U.N. pierce through the clamor—the roar of bushfire, the thunder of armed conflict, the ceaseless babble of talking heads—to actually hear what matters: our collective human voice.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Sometimes a boycott succeeds when it fails.

Although the general aim of a boycott is to hurt profits, there are times when the symbolism of a boycott gives birth to a constant, overt and irreversible new optic for a company to nurse.

When the boycott of Facebook began in June and reached its peak in July, it gathered thousands of brands who vocalized their dissatisfaction with the platform.

The boycott, under the hashtag #StopHateForProfit, was launched by civil rights groups. By July brands were fully behind removing their ad spending - resulting in a small financial dent for the social media juggernaut, but a forceful bludgeoning in the press.


Keep Reading Show less
Mozilla
True
Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Every murder of an innocent person is tragic, but the cold-blooded killing of a child is too heinous to even think about. So when a man walks up to a 5-year-old riding his bike in broad daylight and shoots him in the head in front of his young sisters, it's completely reasonable that people would be horrified. It's an unthinkable and unforgivable act.

Cannon Hinnant didn't deserve to die like that. His parents didn't deserve to lose him like that. His sisters didn't deserve to be scarred for life like that. We can all agree that a horrible tragedy in every way.

His murderer—Hinnant's dad's next door neighbor, Darius Sessoms—deserved to be rounded up, arrested, and charged for the killing. And he was, within hours. He deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law, and history indicates that he assuredly will be. The system is working exactly as it's supposed to in this case. Nothing can be done to bring Cannon back, but justice is being served.

So why is #SayHisName trending with this story, when that hashtag has long been used in the movement for Black Lives? And why is #JusticeForCannon being shared when justice is already happening in this case? Why is #ChildrensLivesMatter a thing, when there's never been any question that that's the case?

Keep Reading Show less