April 22 is Earth Day, held globally since 1970. Over a billion people are involved in events worldwide highlighting the beauty and fragility of our planet. Google has decided to mark the annual recurrence with a doodle – but this is hardly fanciful or lighthearted.
The doodle is a time machine, taking us back to the recent past as the changes of the climate crisis become visible. Deforestation, coral bleaching, glaciers melting. The company has created some brief but punchy visuals of what we are doing to our planet.
There are four visuals created for this doodle. The first focuses on the retreat of the glacier of Mount Kilimanjaro. The highest peak in Africa, which rises like Olympus over the Serengeti (well sort of), is shown in pictures taken annually from 1986. The size of its glacier slowly diminishing. Actually, almost all glaciers across the world are losing mass. That loss is also accelerating.
The second one is the retreat of glaciers in Greenland. Over the years, we have seen the deterioration of the icy landscape of the Arctic island, and this image visualization focusing on the region of Sermersooq (which translates to "place of much ice") between the years 2000 and 2020 brings the point home. The loss of ice in Greenland has passed the point of no return.
The third animation doesn’t need a long breadth of time to make its point. It’s about the 2016 coral bleaching event in the Great Barrier Reef and the images (closing up in the coral) show the changes before. and after. It is estimated that 67 percent of sections of coral in the north of the reef died that year.
The fourth and final doodle is a visualization of the Harz Forest and how climate change has made it easier for bark beetles to destroy them. The parasite also threatens the oldest forest in Europe.
The best day to act against the climate crisis is today.