Africa Atlas’s Exquisite Images Reveal Effects of 40 Years of Environmental Degradation
June 16, 2008 By Daniel Gleick
On June 10, at the 12th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released , a comprehensive look at the environmental devastation being wrought in Africa. Highlighting the ecological damage caused by high population growth, climate change, and the unsustainable use of natural resources, the atlas shows before-and-after satellite images of “ Africa: Atlas of Our Changing Environment disappearing forests, shrinking lakes, vanishing glaciers and degraded landscapes.” The above image, courtesy of UNEP, shows how Lake Chad has shrunk to one-twentieth of its size 30 years ago. As The Independent put it: “Put it all together and you have a picture that is hard to credit, so enormous is the destruction.” Much of the impetus behind the atlas was to spur African governments to improve their environmental records. On July 1, ECSP will host UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at the Washington, DC, launch of the atlas.