Global population explosion, environmental pollution and the extinction of rare animal species are the biggest challenges that the world faces in coming decades as modern man struggles to return to living sustainably on the earth.

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This is Chinese athlete Yao Ming proudly standing in front of a dry-dead elephant in northern Kenya. The elephant was killed for its powerful tusks, used to make ivory trinkets.

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This ship is towing a 120 metre long fishing off the coast of Mauritania. Overfishing of the oceans to feed a growing demand for seafood is devestating the oceans.

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This polar bear died of starvation in Svalbard Island, Norway. The thawing of the arctic is shrinking the bear’s natural hunting ground, forcing the animals to seek food elsewhere. However, finding nothing, this bear fell and died.

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Global warming is contributing to increasingly dangerous forest fires such as this devastating fire in Colorado, USA.

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The earth is warming, melting ice caps in both the north and south poles which is causing sea levels to rise and threatening island nations. As a country located just 2.4 metres above sea level, the Maldives could be completely submerged within 100 years.

When this happens the Maldives’ 360,000 inhabitants will have to be evacuated, contributing to the 26.4 million climate refugees the world sees every year, a figure the World Bank expects to rise to 140 million by 2050.

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A mining zone in Alberta, Canada, dubbed the Canadian capital of Petroleum. Mining is causing severe environmental degradation and pollution in Canada, as the above image of a large region sunk in hazardous waste shows.

In the Alberta tar sands, crude oil is extracted by heavy machinery that sucks tar and sand into tankers that then transport the sludge to refineries. This is one of the most damaging and polluting fossil fuel processes on the planet.

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Ranches and cattle farms in Brazil, where arid soil has replaced green pastures as land is stripped to raise animals for human consumption.

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Barren fields in China, where nature no longer provides shelter and the land is bare.

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The Parade of Love in the Tiergarten Park in Berlin, Germany draws hundreds of thousands of revellers every year, causing significant damage to the park grounds and creating tonnes of plastic waste.

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The world's largest diamond mine, called Mir Mine, located in Russia. Mir mine is 5-25 metres deep and has a diameter of 1,200 metres. In 1960, the mine yielded 2,000kg of diamonds per year, however as humans have stripped the land this has fallen to less than 400kg per year.

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The rugged forests of Canada.

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The delta people of the Amazon burn natural forest to clear land for livestock.

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The Wild Forest located in Willamette National Park, USA.

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A giant vehicle used to clear the land leading to the mineral mine in Tagebau Hambach, Germany.

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Overcrowding at a vast supermarket in the city of Shanghai, China.

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Dark skies: a British coal fired power plant area.

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Electronic waste dumps.

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A garbage site in Bangladesh, India.

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A tire graveyard in Nevada, USA.

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Indonesian-American surfer Dede Surinaya riding waves on Java Island, which attracts more tourists than any other island in the world.

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The city of Port au Prince in Haiti, where close to 1 million people live in cramped and unsafe conditions.

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Satellite TV antennas dot the skyline around Aleppo, Syria.

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The haunting photograph of a dead seabird killed by the plastic waste it had eaten on tourist beaches. This photo was taken in Midway Atoll, a distant northern Pacific archipelago.

 

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