At first sight, this image of a tourist pier might seem harmless – yet some regard it as a terrible portent of things to come. Along with images of the California wildfires , the freezing weather in Texas and even the one-in-100-year rain event in Australia, this picture of Colombia’s Suesca Lagoon has gone around the world as a warning about the effects of climate change.
Severe drought, deforestation and erosion have led to a 90 per cent reduction in the water level. Species living in or feeding on the lagoon are in danger of extinction. Formerly a popular tourist attraction and a culturally significant site – Suesca is noted for its adventure tourism – locals have watched their livelihoods dry up along with the lagoon.
Meanwhile, previous images of the once-lush lagoon provide a shocking contrast to its cracked, depleted state.
Humberto Hernandez, from the Environmental Authority of the Department of Cundinamarca, said “several years” worth of rain would be needed to revive the lagoon. “It is an environmental tragedy that our lake is in this state,” he said.
The United Nations issued a blunt warning about climate change with its latest report, Making Peace With Nature, warning that our children will inherit a world of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, food and water insecurity and even the likelihood of future pandemics.
“Without nature’s help, we will not thrive or even survive,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.