GIFs, often the preserve of cat memes on da interwebz, are used to great effect in these before and after shots that reveal the severity of California’s colossal drought.

Much environmentalism reads as a telling off, a scolding of how much water we should save, how much meat we shouldn’t eat, or golf games we must curb in warmer climes. But the dire effects of drought on landscape can be instantly seen in the technique of before and after pictures. GIFs are a successful tool to quickly reveal the drought’s stark impact to the geology and natural resources.

California, a stalwart of agriculture, the US’s bread basket, and the world’s 8th biggest economy is borrowing most of this water, from neighboring states and its depleting ground water reservoirs. The entire state is mired in extreme and dangerous drought.

The water cycle and all natural resources are interconnected, as our textbooks taught us. The extreme drought has worsened smog across California throughout 2014, stalling decades of progress toward cleaner air and increasing health risks. Smog sticks around when pollution gets trapped due to high pressures preventing air from moving.

More than 80% of California is in extreme drought, and the state's condition isn't expected to improve in the near future. These infographics show the sorry state of the Golden State.