Most of us are well aware that climate change means that the world is going to get a lot warmer in the coming years. It’s already toasty—2017 was one of the hottest years on record, and the top four hottest years have all occurred since 2014. (And 2018 is poised to knock 2014 off the list as the fourth-hottest year.)
It’s hard to picture what this means, though, other than that we’ve all been sweaty. A new interactive graphic from The New York Times makes it easy to understand, for better or for worse. It allows you to plug in your hometown and birth year to see how many average days per year the temperature has reached 90 degrees throughout your lifetime. And then it projects how many of those extra-hot days will occur each year, on average, for the rest of the century.
Say you were born in Los Angeles in 1985. That year, the LA area was projected to experience around 55 days of 90°F or higher. Today, that number has climbed to 67 days a year. By the time you reach 80 years old, there will likely be 81 to 99 of those extra-hot days.
To get a sense of how climate change will affect younger generations, consider the plight of someone born in LA in 2000. That year, LA could expect 59 days a year of 90°F weather. By the time that person reaches age 80, they can expect to see an average of up to 103 days a year of that weather. Yeesh. And it will be worse for places that already experience a lot of hot weather. Someone born in New Delhi in 2000 can expect to experience an average of up to 243 days a year of 90°F or higher weather. That’s two-thirds of the year. It will be especially awful in tropical locations. By the end of the century, Jakarta, Indonesia will be 90°F or higher for almost the entire year.
It’s hard to do the graphic justice without experiencing the interactivity for yourself, so go ahead and play with it over on the Timeswebsite. But instead of weeping, take action.
Events around the world have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but spring is progressing as scheduled. If you're not lucky enough to see flowers blooming from your window or on safe walks outdoors, you can still watch them from your home.
Web cameras installed around the world are recording flower blooms in real time for the internet to see. Botanical events that would attract huge crowds in a typical year can now be viewed in solitude. If you're missing the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., you can tune into the Bloom Cam, which provides a live look at the National Mall's Tidal Basin as it bursts into color.
The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is closed to the public, but its annual orchid show has been reimagined as a virtual tour. In the video below, senior orchid curator Marc Hachadourian takes viewers through the living exhibit and shares facts about how it was made.
Virtual flower watching is also an opportunity to see blooms on the other side of the globe. Japan's famous sakura trees are now accessible through livestreams.
Your digital nature tours don't need to end with the spring flower blooms. Here are five national parks you can explore online.
A scene from Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018).
Markham Street Films
By now, you've probably already binged Netflix's bewilderingly bonkers docuseries Tiger King (2020). If you're ready to dive deeper into the animal kingdom, there are plenty more documentaries out there. From wildcats to whales, these 10 films will take you on a cinematic adventure around the world, introducing you to captivating creatures and the people who love them.
1. The Tigers of Scotland (2017)
The Tigers of Scotland (2017) brings viewers as up close and personal as possible with a small but mighty feline: the Scottish wildcat. The film delves into the efforts to conserve the disappearing Highland tiger, as well as the history and mythology surrounding the UK’s only “big cat.”
This 2017 Disneynature documentary will transport you to the world’s highest plateau in search of a family of snow leopards. These cats are famously tough to find, so Ghost of the Mountains offers viewers behind-the-scenes footage of what it’s like to track the elusive beasts.
3. Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018)
This delightful documentary takes you deep into the competitive cat show circuit. Both charming and at times cutthroat, the film brings viewers on a journey to see which of the many cool cats and kittens will be crowned Canada's top cat.
Follow along as a National Geographic explorer and photographer embeds with a white wolf pack in the high Arctic. These wild wolves aren't used to seeing people, giving the filmmakers—and audience—an intimate window into the pack's daily lives and familial bonds. In addition to showcasing captivating footage of the animals, the three-part docuseries also features sweeping views of the starkly beautiful Ellesmere Island.
This docuseries, which highlights various dogs and their humans from around the world, celebrates the bond between people and their pups. But it’s more than just a montage of feel-good moments about humankind’s best friend: Each episode tells a broader tale about the human condition, crafting an emotional narrative that pulls at the heartstrings like a puppy tugging on a toy.
These birds will put your dad moves to shame. Watch the male avian performers shimmy, shake, and flash their feathers while attempting to woo their female mates. The documentary, narrated by Stephen Fry, offers a colorful look at the wonderfully wacky world of bird mating rituals.
This documentary follows Hatidze Muratova, one of the last wild beekeepers in a remote village in North Macedonia. She lives with her ailing mother, nurturing a traditional way of beekeeping passed down through the generations and striking a balance between making a living and maintaining ecological balance. But everything changes when a nomadic family settles nearby, threatening Muratova’s way of life. The resulting story is both sweet and stinging.
This 2014 documentary highlights the park rangers fighting to protect the Congo’s Virunga National Park, home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla. As poaching and oil exploration threaten the park, the rangers and conservationists risk their lives to guard the rare creatures that inhabit it.
In the 1950s, Harry deLayer bought Snowman, a run-down plow horse destined for slaughter, for just $80 at an auction. Within months, the two were taking the show jumping circuit by storm, launching both horse and rider to new heights. This documentary tells the story of the friendship the two developed, and chronicles their lives both in and out of the competitive spotlight.
The waters around Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest are a haven for whales, who feed and find refuge in the quiet channels. With stunning visuals, this documentary highlights the tension of a community’s push to protect its wild places against the pressures of the ever-encroaching natural gas industry.