Icons threatened by fossil fuels  / ©: WWF Multiple Credits
Icons of the natural world are under threat.
Fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas pose a threat to some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes and the animals and people that call them home.

Fossil fuels – our old-fashioned energy sources – are proven to pollute the environment and contribute to climate change.

Of course, there is an alternative. Energy doesn’t have to bring pollution and climate change.

Renewable energy sources can provide all of the world’s energy by 2050. The technology exists, and large scale investments are already being made in renewable energy.

The shift to renewables is already happening, but more must be done.

What icons are under threat?

Whether through global warming or the extraction and exportation of coal and oil products, old-fashioned fuels are risking the existence of some of the world’s most spectacular sights.

Click on the images below to find out more about why some icons are at threat.

 / ©: Teo Lucas / Gigante Azul / WWF
Sign the pledge for a Whale sanctuary in Canary islands
© Teo Lucas / Gigante Azul / WWF
 / ©: Carlos Suárez / océanosdefuego.es
© Carlos Suárez / océanosdefuego.es

Canary Islands

Oil exploration threatens the waters around the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. As one of the world’s most important areas for cetaceans, such as pilot whales, sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins, the impact would be devastating.

 / ©: naturepl.com / Todd Pusser / WWF
© naturepl.com / Todd Pusser / WWF

Western gray whale

The western gray whale, among the largest whales found in the ocean, faces serious threats from the impacts of oil and gas exploration due to the Piltun Astokhskoye oil field lying 16 km away from the Sakhalin Islands in Russia.
 / ©: WWF


Despite its ecological importance to the planet, Palawan in the Philippines is fighting a battle against a proposal to set up a 15 MW coal fired power plant in the heart of the island, which might jeopardized its status as UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve.
 / ©: Rampini/ WWF Itali
© Rampini/ WWF Itali


This unique volcanic island in the Sicilian Channel faces threat from oil drilling activities which are on the rise in the Mediterranean seabed.
 / ©: Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada
© Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada

Great Bear Coast

This interconnected and vibrant region hangs in the balance as the Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline Project proposes to construct twin pipelines bisecting the forest and sea to transport toxic bitumen.
 / ©: Jurgen Freund / WWF
Green Turtle
© Jurgen Freund / WWF

Green turtle

Green turtle populations in the East Atlantic are left with no choice but to feed in waters exposed to oil spills, which can lead to serious health issues such as liver, kidney and brain damage.

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