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Earth Day: Climate crisis highlighted in stark Google images

Click to play video: 'Honouring Earth Day by making small changes' Honouring Earth Day by making small changes
WATCH: Honouring Earth Day by making small changes – Apr 22, 2022

As a way to mark Earth Day on Friday, Google is reminding people of what it’s calling “the most pressing topics of our time: climate change” with four new doodles showing the destruction of ecological areas around the world.

Google says it has used real time-lapse imagery taken over several decades from Google Earth Timelapse and other sources to show the impact of climate change.

Read more: Extreme heat should be labelled a natural disaster, Canadian report urges

“Time lapses allow us to see our planet in an entirely new dimension — and time. Now anyone can witness nearly four decades of planetary change,” said Rebecca Moore, the director of Google Earth, on their website.

In time-lapse sequences, the Earth Day Google doodles feature how the glacier at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa is retreating over time. The images used in this sequence were taken each December annually from 1986 to 2020.

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Glacier retreat at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Google)
Glacier retreat at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Google). Google

The same issue is also portrayed in the images taken of the glacier retreat in Greenland at Sermersooq, taken each December annually from 2000 to 2020.

Glacier retreat in Greenland (Google).
Glacier retreat in Greenland (Google). Google

The third time-lapse sequence reveals the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef on Lizard Island, Australia, captured each month from March 2016 to May 2016.

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Coral bleaching on Lizard Island, Australia (Google).
Coral bleaching on Lizard Island, Australia (Google). Google

The final Doodle shows the Harz forests in Elend, Germany, destroyed by bark beetle infestation due to rising temperatures and severe drought. The time-lapse sequence includes images taken each December annually from 1995 to 2020.

Harz Forests destroyed by bark beetle infestation (Google).
Harz Forests destroyed by bark beetle infestation (Google). Google

According to Google, each of the four doodles will remain on the homepage for several hours at a time.

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Earth Day is an international celebration of the earth that raises awareness for environmental protection – it was first observed in 1970 in the United States.

“In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles,” Earth Day’s organization said on its website. 

“Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health,” it added.

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However, the stage was set for change with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.

The organization said the book “represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries as it raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and the inextricable links between pollution and public health.”

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Since then, Earth Day has been taking place each year on April 22 in more than 190 countries.

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