13 Fantastically Fun & Frightening Eco-Infographics

Nothing puts the imminent threat of rising seas or the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into perspective quite like an effective information graphic. Infographics make complex data or information much more accessible, which definitely comes in handy when you’re trying to make sense of things like the half-formed arguments of global warming skeptics. Some of these great eco-infographics are scary, others are hopeful or humorous, but they’re all really effective.

Click on each image to view details in the larger version.

When Sea Levels Attack

(image via: The Guardian)

At the current predicted rate of rising seas, when will each city in the world go under? This visually striking infographic organizes cities by their height above sea level, and at just 1 meter above sea level, Venice will be the first to go within about 100 years. Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Lower Manhattan and San Francisco wouldn’t be too far behind, while London and Taiwan – at 20 meters above sea level – have about 1000 years before the party’s over. Of course, this graphic uses the lowest, most conservative figures available – so it could be much worse, much sooner.

A Core Set of Environmental Indicators

(image via: cool infographics)

We’ve known for a while now that something needs to be done about serious environmental issues like threatened species, drinking water and CO2 emissions – but have these issues really gotten any better? This infographic breaks down progress on core issues during the period between 1995-2005, making it easy to see that while we’re doing great in correcting ozone depletion, energy and governance, we’ve got a long way to go on greenhouse gases and the oceans.

The Effects of Bike Commuting on Obesity

(image via: good.is)

If we all rode bikes instead of driving cars to work, how much healthier would we be as a whole? This chart shows the percentage of people in various countries who commute on bicycles (in green) and people who get around on foot (in orange), along with a graphic representation of a person on a bicycle that reveals the percentage of the population that’s overweight.

The Facts About Bottled Water

(image via: online education)

Just how much damage does bottled water do to the planet? This infographic breaks down the disturbing facts – like the fact that 22% of bottled water brands contain contaminants at levels above strict state limits, that 17 million barrels of oil are used annually in the production of water bottles and that it takes three times the amount of water to produce a bottle as it does to fill it.

How Long Will It Last?

(image via: infographics blog)

How many years do we have left of resources like aluminum, zinc and tin if we keep using them at the current rates? We’re damn near out of inidium, used to make LCDs, with just about 4 years left on the clock and a 0% recycling rate. The darker shade of each spoke on the wheel represents the years left at today’s rate, while the lighter shade shows how long we have if the world consumes at half the US consumption rate.

What’s the Difference Between Humans & Animals?

(image via: metrobest)

We consider ourselves to be pretty special, but the truth is, every year scientists are finding characteristics that we once considered “purely human” in other species. Elephants have empathy, apes have a sense of humor, dolphins have culture and even magpies have self-awareness.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

(image via: metrobest)

It can be tough to wrap your head around the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. How big is it? What’s in it? Where did it all come from, and how is it affecting marine life and ecosystems? It’s all here to ponder, and quite incredible to see the size of it compared to the gigantic state of Alaska, located to the north of it.

Surface Area Required to Power the World

(image via: information is beautiful)

If we were to power the entire world with solar energy alone, producing zero emissions, how much land would it take? The answer is astounding. We’ve got the land – we just need the dedication, the materials and the technology.

The Global Warming Skeptics vs. The Scientific Consensus

(image via: sodahead.com)

The so-called ‘global warming debate’ is complex in terms of defining the precise points on which skeptics and climate scientists disagree. The main issues are pinpointed here – the ‘CO2 lag’, reliability of temperature records, the medieval warm period, the hockey stick graph and more.

The Coming Water Wars

(image via: princeton university)

“Of all the water on Earth, only 2.5% is fresh, and less than 0.007% is readily available to people through rivers, lakes, and streams. As worldwide populations surge, temperatures rise, climates change and diseases spread, clean water will become even more essential (and more rare).”

Globalization: Starbucks vs. McDonalds

(image via: princeton university)

Starbucks and McDonalds are global forces, but each in their own way. While Starbucks has indeed spread across the world, its sales – about $4.1 billion annually – are still dwarfed by those of McDonalds, which top $41 billion a year. This graph of McDonalds locations around the world looks like some kind of plague. Meanwhile, it takes 19 countries to make one cup of Starbucks coffee.

How do Carbon Offsets Work?

(image via: the onion)

When you pay for a carbon offset so you can take a guilt-free international flight, what exactly happens to that money? It’s a long and winding road, as illustrated by this humorous graphic from The Onion. “Enjoy your clear conscience for 0.13 seconds, the amount of time that will lapse before your carbon offset is entirely erased by a new coal-powered drinking-straw factory outside of Chongqing, China.”

None of These Rainforest Species Are Endangered

(image via: gizmodo)

The list of endangered rainforest species is depressing… chimps, orangutans, jaguars, Bengal tigers, toucans and gray mice are all going the way of the wooly mammoth. But don’t forget that there’s also a nice long list of species that are doing fine, like the Le Tourneau 5594 Log Stacker and the John Deere S43 J Feller/Brancher.

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