Breathing Earth

Need a quick summary of how our earth is changing? Do you like strange background music and outdated websites? If so, Breathing Earth is for you!

Check it out:

Breathing Earth is a simulation of real-time changes to earth’s carbon dioxide emissions and human population.  While there are many interactive websites that show facts and statistical information about carbon dioxide emissions, this website makes understanding the intensity of our CO2 outputs more relatable.  Instead of counting outputs per year, outputs are measured in real time.  While there are facts regarding specific county’s emissions and populations, the first numbers the websites show are for the entire planet.  This is important because, as they mention in the text below the map, emissions are a global issue: emissions do not just effect their country of origin.

Breathing Earth is significant to our course because it illustrates some of the anthropogenic alterations to the planet’s atmosphere.

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It’s obvious that this page has not been updated for a while (although it’s been copyrighted through 2015).  While the website creators mention that approximations may be too low, I am not surprised as their population data is five years old and their emissions data is NINE years old.  It would be interesting for them to alter their data to see how much faster our population and emissions are increasing (or perhaps decreasing, depending upon the country?).

Overall, I’d say the concept of this website is great: it’s simple and easy to understand, yet still gets the point across.   However, if you’re looking for an interactive, up to date map with some more detail, I would suggest (See Dan’s post below!).

Do you think it’s worth keeping simple maps like this when there are complex, interactive maps that have more info?


USGS Education: A resource built for you

For more information go to

Communicating results of scientific research to multiple audiences is a critical component of the geographer’s work. Public opinion on important scientific matters such as climate change and evolution may be highly affected by political battles, and effective communication of scientific information is necessary. The USGS Education website tries to tackle this challenge by sharing videos, animations, lectures, maps, and diagrams explaining a range of topics from the water cycle to volcanic ash.

You can access numerous resources

USGS Education contains three primary sections: Primary Education, Secondary Education, and Undergraduate Education. Geography topics in the website include geomagnetism, plate tectonics, rocks, Earth history, earthquakes, wildfires, and more. For children in primary school grades, USGS has made public a series of activities, games, coloring pages, and stories that teach them about animals, wild birds, climate change, and bee population declines. Kids may also sign up with their class to be volunteers and monitor plants and animal species found across the US. For the older kids and teenagers, podcasts, tables, diagrams of the scientific process, and simple raw data are available in the website. Students are able to post their questions and USGS scientists may answer their questions in a series of brief videos. Publications “written for the general public” and “simple explanations” are available too.

For those completing their undergraduate studies, USGS has published online seminars, research on invasive species, raw data, reports, maps, and debates on climate change. Online lectures recorded at USGS facilities are also available and they include topics on the atmosphere & weather, biology & ecosystems, climate change, coastal and marine science, earthquakes, geology, human health, mapping and remote sensing, and more. Essentially, everything you may need for your final and beyond.

Throughout the semester we used USGS data to explore floods and streamflow levels. We produced some interesting reports but, in practice, our work would probably not generate much response from a general audience. The USGS Education site is a great resource to communicate many of these crucial findings to large and diverse audiences.