“When the earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear. When that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them.” —Chief Seattle
Happy Earth Day! Perhaps we will learn, before it is too late, that we can all be Warriors of the Rainbow. #makesmartearthchoices #earthday2016
A whole lot has changed since the first Earth Day in 1970.
Back then, the most urgent environmental problems facing the United States were air and water pollution. In the decades since, we’ve made huge progress mopping that up, only to discover entirely new headaches, like global warming and ocean acidification.
Even today, our understanding of the Earth itself — and the ways we’re transforming it — keeps evolving with each passing year. We’ve uncovered entirely new geological features and ecosystems. We’ve brought endangered species back from the edge of extinction. We’ve altered the atmosphere, both for better and worse.
Here’s a list of some of the most surprising, encouraging, and worrisome things we’ve learned about Earth just over the past year:
1) Scientists discovered thousands of new mountains — on the ocean floor
2) Scientists also discovered a few bizarre new species
3) But we also learned we’ve wiped out 50% of wildlife since 1970
4) Every single ocean now has a massive swirling plastic garbage patch
5) Antarctica is now melting faster than expected
6) Good news: The ozone layer is finally starting to heal
7) We learned humans have been radically altering the Earth for longer than we thought