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6 Reasons Climate Change Is Not A Hoax

<p> USFWS<br></p>

In an absurd move on Wednesday, politicians voted on whether or not climate change is a hoax.

Ninety-eight members of the U.S. Senate voted for a measure that reaffirms climate change is real. One senator, Roger Wicker, R-Miss., voted against it, despite all of the evidence that climate change exists. While it's reassuring to know that most of our leaders understand that climate change is happening, it's also disappointing to know that they're not willing to take responsibility. As NPR points out, a separate amendment asserting that climate change is caused by humans failed to pass, 50 votes to 49.

But we didn't need any convincing. These six animals can definitely prove that climate change is real - because they're already feeling its effects.

1. Polar bears

(Flickr/Susanne Nilson)

Basically the poster child for climate change, the polar bear's icy home is threatened by warming temperatures and melting ice. Just last week a DNA study found that the iconic white bears are already migrating toward areas with more year-round sea ice.

2. Sea turtles

(Flickr/EdmundGarman)

Already severely threatened by entanglement in fishing lines, sea turtles face serious problems with rising sea levels, too. Beaches where they once laid eggs are already losing ground to erosion, while coral bleaching due to rising ocean temperatures is stripping them of their critical feeding grounds.

3. Golden toad

(Wikimedia Commons/USFWS)

At least one frog species has already paid the ultimate price for climate change: extinction. Golden toads, native to Central America, were last seen in their mountaintop home in 1989. Their disappearance is attributed in large part to climate change.

4. Monarch butterflies

(Flickr/Luna sin estrellas)

These iconic black and orange insects have been feeling the heat from climate change lately - so much so that they're being considered for protections as an endangered species. The species is quickly losing its main food source, the milkweed plant, due to farming. And disastrous and abnormal weather patterns have driven the iconic species to its lowest point in 20 years.

5. Adélie penguins

(Flickr/Christopher Michel)

At first glance, climate change hasn't been so bad for the Adélie penguin. A 2013 study found that their populations had increased by 84 percent over the past 60 years, thanks to the loss of glaciers leaving more land for their nests. But as climate change worsens, it's expected that the penguins' important food source, krill, will be hit hard, thereby spelling trouble for the species.

6. Coral reefs

(Flickr/USFWS)

Corals, which usually consist of tiny organisms called polyps paired with a calcified skeleton, are one of the most ecologically important - and most threatened - victims of climate change. Through a process called coral bleaching, corals expel the colorful algae that live in their tissues and turn a stark white. This makes them more vulnerable to stressors that cause mortality, and can result in both the loss of the coral and the valuable habitat it provides for countless marine organisms.