These Before And After Images Show The Startling Effects Of Climate Change

WASHINGTON ? As the Trump administration and numerous U.S. lawmakers, primarily conservatives, downplay the threat of climate change and take aim at policies to combat it, researchers are documenting undeniable transformations around the globe.

A United Nations-backed study published in January, for example, concluded that unless we take swift action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, coral bleaching events ? like the one that resulted in a major die-off at Australia?s Great Barrier Reef ? will soon decimate nearly all of the world?s coral reefs.

And just last week, the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University released data showing the dramatic melting of glaciers in Montana. Since 1966, climate change has reduced the size of 39 glaciers, some by as much as 85 percent. 

Earlier this year, NASA published ?Images of Change,? a gallery of more than 100 startling before and after pictures ? most taken from space ? that ?show our planet in a state of flux.? The photos capture everything from natural disasters to urban growth and volcanic eruptions. Here, we?ve selected images that specifically show how climate change is affecting landscapes in different parts of the world.

The image below shows Glacier National Park in August 1984 (left), compared to August 2015 (right). In 1850, the area contained roughly 150 glaciers, compared to just 25 today, many ?mere remnants of what they once were,? according to the National Park Service. If the current rate of warming continues, Glacier could be free of the features for which it is named by 2030. 

On average, the world?s glaciers are losing ice at three times the rate lost in the 1980s, according to a 2015 study. And roughly 69 percent of the rapid melting of Earth?s glaciers can be linked to human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, a 2014 report found.

Below are images of Neumayer Glacier, on South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic, in January 2005 (left), and in September 2016 (right). Since 2000, Neumayer has retreated more than 2.5 miles.

The images below show Pedersen Glacier, in southern Alaska, sometime between the mid-1920s and the early 1940s (left), and in August 2005 (right). In that 60- to 80-year period, the glacier?s terminus retreated more than 1.2 miles

Below are images of Northwestern Glacier, in southern Alaska, sometime between the mid-1920s and the early 1940s (left), compared to August 2005 (right). During that 60- to 80-year period, the glacier?s terminus retreated more than 6.2 miles

The images below show Muir Glacier, also in southern Alaska, first in August 1941 (left) and again in August 2004 (right). Between the 1890s and 2005, Muir retreated more than 30 miles, according to USGS. 

Climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions, has also triggered accelerated melting in Antarctica and caused the Arctic to warm ?faster than any other region on Earth.?

The image below shows the Bellinghausen Coast, in western Antarctica, in February 1975 (left) and again in March 2015 (right). Over the last four decades, West Antarctica?s coastline has lost about 390 square miles of ice, according to a study last year led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. 

The graphic below shows the decline in Arctic sea ice between September 1984 (left) and September 2016 (right). Over that 32-year period, the area covered by ice at least four years old has plummeted from 718,000 square miles to 42,000 square miles. 

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Chelsea Handler Says Melania Would Be An ‘American Hero’ If She Divorced Donald Trump

Everyone is having a good laugh over Melania Trump publicly humiliating her husband, Donald Trump ? including Chelsea Handler. 

Handler, who was promoting her Netflix show on ?The View? Monday, was absolutely delighted by video of Melania swatting away Donald?s attempt at holding her hand when the first couple arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. 

?I have a fantasy. I just want Melania to finally come out and divorce him. She would be an American hero,? Handler told the ?View? co-hosts. ?We would embrace her if she just said, ?Listen, this guy?s disgusting, and I know all of his dirty secrets and I?m willing to tell everybody.??

Even if Melania is willing or wants to divorce Donald and spill his secrets one day, actively embracing her might be a step too far.

In 2011, Melania appeared on ?The Joy Behar Show,? where she defended her husband?s false, racist conspiracy theory and repeated his birther claims almost verbatim, according to Vanity Fair. 

?Do you want to see President Obama?s birth certificate or not?,? Melania asked Behar. ?In one way, it would be very easy if President Obama just show it. It?s not only Donald who wants to see it. It?s American people who voted for him and who didn?t vote for him ? they want to see that!?

There are plenty of people who love the idea that Melania seemingly hates her husband. During Trump?s inauguration, a meme was born when, as soon as Trump turned his back to her, Melania?s face completely fell. The Twitterverse went on to use the hashtag #FreeMelania, which was also spotted on signs at Women?s March in January.

Perhaps, in this case, it?s actually easy to mistake schadenfreude for sympathy, but author and sex columnist Dan Savage previously explained that no one should be giving the first lady a pass.

?[T]here are some folks on the left who not only don?t hate her, they view her as some sort of sympathetic figure. The pretty princess in the tower locked up by the orange ogre with the bad combover, a princess desperately blinking out distress signals during swearing-in ceremonies and inaugural balls,? he said during one of his podcasts in March. 

Adding, ?She?s an immigrant who doesn?t give a s**t about the plight of other immigrants. She?s famously a plagiarist. And she?s brought ruinous lawsuits against journalists and bloggers accusing them of among other things, potentially interfering with her ability to profit off her role as first lady.?

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In 2017, Casting A Black Actor Derailed A Staging Of This Famous Play

?I am furious and dumbfounded,? Oregon-based theater producer Michael Streeter wrote on Facebook last week. ?The Edward Albee Estate needs to join the 21st Century.?

The short statement ? totaling just over 50 words ? claimed that the estate of the late Pulitzer-winning playwright had withdrawn the rights to his play ?Who?s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,? disallowing Streeter from staging the well-known production in Portland. Its reason, according to the post? Streeter had cast a black actor in the supporting role of Nick.

?The Albee Estate called and said I need to fire the black actor and replace him with a white one,? he added. ?I refused, of course.?

According to The New York Times, a spokesperson for the Albee estate maintains that it hadn?t exactly withdrawn Streeter?s permission to stage the play ? namely because it hadn?t provided explicit permission to begin with. But the spokesperson did confirm the crux of Streeter?s statement: It indeed objected to the casting of a black actor in the play.

?It is important to note that Mr. Albee wrote Nick as a Caucasian character, whose blonde hair and blue eyes are remarked on frequently in the play, even alluding to Nick?s likeness as that of an Aryan of Nazi racial ideology,? spokesperson Sam Rudy allegedly wrote in a letter to Streeter. ?Furthermore, Mr. Albee himself said on numerous occasions when approached with requests for nontraditional casting in productions of ?Virginia Woolf? that a mixed-race marriage between a Caucasian and an African-American would not have gone unacknowledged in conversations in that time and place and under the circumstances in which the play is expressly set by textual references in the 1960s.?

?Who?s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,? a widely adapted play, centers on husband-and-wife duo George and Martha, whose lack of marital bliss becomes the central conflict of a night of drinking with a younger couple, Nick and Honey. First staged in 1962, Albee ? known to demand creative control over various productions of his play ? originally conceived the play?s characters as white, including, as Rudy pointed out, a description of Nick that involves the word ?blond.?

Streeter, in a subsequent Facebook post, explained his ?color-conscious? casting choice further:

I believe casting Nick as black adds depth to the play. The character is an up and comer. He is ambitious and tolerates a lot of abuse in order to get ahead. I see this as emblematic of African Americans in 1962, the time the play was written. The play is filled with invective from Martha and particularly George towards Nick. With each insult that happens in the play, the audience will wonder, ?Are George and Martha going to go there re. racial slurs?? There are lines that I think this casting gives resonance to, such as the fact that his (white) wife has ?slim hips? and when he says he?s ?nobody?s houseboy?. He is a biologist and it is suggested that he is looking to make everyone the same. (Nazism and Arianism is implied, but never specifically mentioned.) This could be a reasonable goal or fantasy for an African American biologist in 1962 for the distant future. 

He went on to say that he does ?not question the motives of those that made the decision? on behalf of the estate, adding that he believes ?they have some fealty to a sense of integrity to Edward Albee?s desires.?

?But I had hoped the negative aspects of Albee would die with him,? he concluded. ?All I did was post a very short Facebook rant about my disappointment in their decision. I think they made the wrong one. I think the benefits of casting Nick with an African American Actor outweigh the drawbacks.?

I had hoped the negative aspects of Albee would die with him.

Streeter also acknowledged that the estate had not yet granted him full rights to stage the play at Shoebox Theater, in a production originally scheduled for this fall; rather, his ability to move forward rested on receiving casting approval from the estate. 

The Times noted that Albee had previously issued concern regarding the potential casting of a black actress as Martha, the daughter of a college president: ?That would instantly raise a lot of questions, since it?s a totally naturalistic play,? he said. ?Is this a black college? Do we have a black president of a white college? Not very likely.? According to The Guardian, Albee also took action in order to halt a version of the play with two gay couples.

The estate?s refusal to grant rights to Streeter has reinvigorated conversations about colorblind and color-conscious casting in theater ? the latter technique being one that was famously employed by Lin-Manuel Miranda?s production of ?Hamilton.? Several theater fans even remarked on seeing ?Virginia Woolf? with actors of color before.

Streeter himself wondered whether or not the casting of an interracial couple in particular was the sole reason for the estate refusing to grant rights. ?I think if I had proposed an all black cast they may have been more open to approving it,? he wrote. Still, the estate?s reasoning fell flat for many.

?The reasoning, if that?s quite the word, of the Albee estate doesn?t seem to be simple racism,? Scott Simon explained on NPR. ?It sounds like convoluted racism.?

?This is terrible,? journalist Mark Harris wrote on Twitter. ?I don?t know if this reflects Albee?s wish. If it does, that wish should not have survived him.?

The husband of the actress originally cast as Martha in Streeter?s production took to Facebook to post his reaction, too:

?While we are Whitewashing our movies and pop culture on a daily basis (Emma Stone as Native Hawaiian in ?Aloha,? Zach McGowan as a native Hawaiian, David Carradine as a Chinese man in ?Kung Fu??! and how about JESUS CHRIST as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white guy?!?!) we have a responsibility to #Resist these weak excuses for allowing racism to exist.?

HuffPost has reached out to Streeter and the Edward Albee Foundation for comment and will update this post accordingly if and when we hear back.

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