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Google Doodle marks Earth Day with sobering images of climate crisis

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Google is marking Earth Day with a doodle showing time-lapse satellite footage of melting glaciers, deforestation, coral bleaching and retreating snow cover to highlight the scale of the climate crisis.

Imagery and photographs from Google Earth Timelapse and The Ocean Agency have been used to create four Gifs that will be shown on the search engine throughout the day.

These show glacial retreat at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania between December 1986 and 2020, and glacial melt in Sermersooq, Greenland, between December 2000 and 2020.

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

A coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef near Lizard Island in Australia between March 2016 and October 2017, and deforestation of the Harz forests in Elend, Germany, between December 1995 and 2020 are also featured.

The sobering images are intended to draw attention to the severity of climate change.

The doodle comes as Sir David Attenborough has been named a Champion of the Earth by the UN’s Environment Programme.

Accepting the prestigious award, the 95-year-old naturalist said on the subject of climate change: “We know what the problems are and we know how to solve them. All we lack is unified action.”

Speaking in February 2021, Sir David told the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) session on climate that it was “too late” to avoid catastrophic suffering for the world’s most vulnerable people because of climate change.

“Please make no mistake - climate change is the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced.

“There is no going back - no matter what we do now, it's too late to avoid climate change and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer,” he added.

Inaugurated in 1970, Earth Day occurs each year on 22 April and is marked by an estimated one billion people.

Its aim is to raise awareness and mobilise action about the threats to our planet.

This year’s event follows the release of the latest IPCC reports showing that the world is heading towards stronger, more frequent disasters fuelled by the climate crisis, with little time to reverse course.

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