Climate Progress is a blog I follow to keep informed about what is being said and done regarding global climate disruption, and in the past several days, I have read two interesting articles there that are both accompanied by maps.

My older daughter got her bachelor’s degree in social geography, and through her I learned how much power there can be in a map.  Sometimes there is no better way to tell the story of what’s going on in the world than with a map.

Let me call your attention to these two.

The first map is an animated visualization created by NASA

Click here and you will see a dramatic visualization of how global temperatures have risen since 1880. The red areas are where temperatures are higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, and the blues are where temperatures are lower than that baseline.  As the timeline progresses, it takes your breath away to watch a blue world turn red.  You can chart where the hot spots are forming.

The second map accompanies a story on renewable energy and charts which states currently have laws that require utilities to purchase a percentage of their power from renewable sources and which states have voluntary renewable energy goals and which states (those are gray) are not promoting renewable energy.


Promoting renewable energy in this way, the article points out has compelling benefits.

  1. The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School estimates coal powered generation costs us $500 billion annually in health, economic, and environmental impacts.
  2. While the broader economy continued to shed jobs, U.S. employment in the solar industry grew by almost 7% from August of 2010 to August of 2011.


We often turn to maps when we want to know where to go.  I think these two provide a very clear direction.



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