If These 35,000 Walruses Can’t Convince You Climate Change Is Real, I Don’t Know What to Tell You


AP Photo/NOAA, Corey Accardo

This an image from a NOAA research flight over a remote stretch of Alaska’s north shore on Saturday. It shows approximately 35,000 walruses crowded on a beach, which according to the AP is a record number for this survey program.

Bear in mind that each of the little brown dots in this image can weigh over 4,000 pounds, placing them high in the running to be the world’s biggest climate refugees.

Why are so many walruses “hauled out” on this narrow strip of land? Part of the reason is that there’s not enough sea ice for them to rest on, according to NOAA.

On September 17, Arctic sea ice reached its minimum extent for 2014, which according to federal data is the sixth-lowest coverage since the satellite record began in 1979.

“The massive concentration of walruses onshore—when they should be scattered broadly in ice-covered waters—is just one example of the impacts of climate change on the distribution of marine species in the Arctic,” Margaret Williams, the managing director of WWF’s Arctic program, said in a statement.

If you’ve ever seen these blubbery beasts duke it out, then you know there’s some serious marine mammal mayhem in store. Thanks, climate change!

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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