Whenever a wildfire breaks out, we put it out. An immediate danger requires an equally urgent response. It's that simple.
But what about a growing wave of fires that flare up in disparate regions over a lengthy period of time, perhaps decades or even centuries? This type of phenomenon can sometimes seem so vast and complex, the events can just as easily be chalked up as a coincidence.
It's called climate change. And one of the biggest challenges for scientists is impressing upon the public just how dire and serious the problem is. Whether it's the slow-moving nature of global warming or people's tendency to primarily concern themselves with threats within their local vicinity, raising a stink isn't enough. That's why the Union of Concerned Scientists created the Climate Hot Map, which displays all the various already-occurring consequences a warming planet is having on their neck of the woods and beyond.
One feature that makes the interactive map so useful is the ability to filter the data into discrete categories such as climate change's impact on food, water supply or ecosystem. The information is drawn from a database if peer-reviewed studies.
Of course, helping people develop greater awareness is only a step in the right direction. The map also includes a section that lays out the potential solutions to many of these emerging calamities, many of which are approaches and interventions that we often report and write about right here on SmartPlanet like greener transportation, more renewable energy, emissions-cutting technologies and sustainable development.
So do me a favor and take a look at the map by visiting www.climatehotmap.org. How is climate change affecting your community? And, most importantly, how do you plan to be part of the solution?
More interactive maps and graphics:
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com