How climate change has affected your favorite landscapes

Story highlights

World leaders have been at the COP17 climate conference

You sent us photos of your favorite local landscapes

iReporters told us why those landscapes must be protected from climate change

Many of you said there were signs that climate change was already taking its toll

CNN  — 

This week, world leaders have been at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Durban, South Africa, to discuss climate change.

While climate change is predicted to get worse, it is not a hypothetical problem that will occur in the distant future. The U.N. recently said it is confident that increased greenhouse gas emissions have already increased maximum global temperatures.

In some areas of the world, climate change has begun to threaten natural habitats, such as the village of Shishmaref, Alaska, where rising temperatures have been melting away ice on the coast, threatening wildlife and livelihoods.

We asked you to send us photographs of your favorite local landscape, telling us what that place means to you and why protecting it from climate change is so important.

You sent us images of lakes, parks, mountains and waterfalls, from Indonesia to Austria, and New Zealand to the United States. Many of you said there were signs that climate change was already taking its toll, and that action must be taken to protect these special locations.

Michael Goodling sent a picture of zebras at the Mlilwane Game Reserve, in Ezulwini, Swaziland – a country he says has been hit by late seasonal rains.

“Water holes that should be filling for the animals are just thick dry mud,” he said. “If climate change continues to affect Africa it will also change migratory patterns due to food availability. This applies to humans as well. Without the rains, crops will also be later.

He added: “I worry that the next generation will not enjoy the zebra, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, impala, etc. that I am enjoying now. We must act fast to protect these beautiful creatures, the beautiful children and the vast pristine landscape of this amazing continent.”

See more of the amazing photos you sent us.