with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Changing planet revealed in atlas

As we travel around the world, especially when revisiting places we’ve been to before, we are often stunned at the changes in the landscape. Once beautiful nature areas are now threatened or non-existent. Once interesting downtowns and small towns are abandoned and left to ruin and grime. This is part of the human existence, and “human evolution”, moving and shifting around, destroying natural habitats, then abandoning their manmade homes and buildings to move deeper and deeper into nature, until there is little left that is natural.

For years Brent and I have talked about this in the many classes we teach on travel, nature and nature photography. Mostly we are greeted with “yeah, yeah, yeah” and “we know all that”, but now we have a chance to really show people what we are talking about.

In a recent story on BBC news story, “Changing planet revealed in atlas”, it shows us a “transformed world”.

Among the transformations highlighted in the atlas are the huge growth of greenhouses in southern Spain, the rapid rise of shrimp farming in Asia and Latin America and the emergence of a giant, shadow puppet-shaped peninsula at the mouth of the Yellow River that has built up through transportation of sediment in the waters.


The effects of retreating glaciers on mountains and in polar regions, deforestation in South America and forest fires across sub-Saharan Africa are also shown in the atlas.

The announcement and the new atlas are part of this year’s World Environment Day, and will be showcased at a conference in San Francisco, California, focusing on ways of making cities more environmentally friendly and resource-efficient.

I only hope that everyone takes a good long look at this and gives it serious consideration. Let it influence our decisions on where we choose to live. Let us rebuild and work with what we have and let nature be left alone.

If there is any nature left out there.

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