Archive for February, 2010

Feb 26 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

The Destruction of the Everglades

According to the National Park Service, the Everglades National Park, is “the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, [and] boasts rare and endangered species. It [also] has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, significant to all people of the world”.

Water in the southern tip of Florida used to flow freely to Lake Okeechobee and further south through the everglades, with the origional water sheet covering over 11,000 square miles. For thousands of years, before human involvement, this delicate system remained in balance in terms of nutrients, “biological infastructure”. However, upon the colonization of Florida, and the push for further expansion, this balance was disrupted. In an attempt to prevent flooding and protect homes as well as lives, the government built multiple canals and flood control walls to divert water away from the everglades. This however, only further increased the severity of storms and floods. Only then did scientists as well as government officals really realize the extent and consquences of their actions.

The Everglades are home to many unique animals that are found no where else in the United States — and nearly all of them are severely threatened. For example, due to the numerous roads in the Everglades, alligators and American crocodiles in an attempt to cross the roads are being killed. Also, the American Panther is extremely endangered and will most likely go extinct in the near future.

I believe that the Everglades are just another example of our societies failure to recognize the consequences of our actions, and the extent to which we can effect the environment. For a long time, I think people have believed and have preferred to believe that we have no effect on our environment and that it was impossible that we should be able to significantly change the biosphere. However, with the consequences now arising in multiple forms, it is apparent that we do have a hand in this destruction. Through education and recognition we can change our actions, and we can improve the environment in which we live in.


Feb 06 2010

Posted by under EnvProblems

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While scientists have come to the conclusion that humans do have a negative impact on the environment, and are contributing to climate change — I do not believe we are the main source of climate change. Currently we are living in an “icehouse” Earth with an environment able to sustain human, plant and animal life. We also however, are moving from this glacier, “icehouse” environment, into a warmer, “greenhouse” environment – in which glaciers will cease to exist. Carbon dioxide content has always influenced our atmosphere and has always dictated our planet’s temperature and environment. For millions of years carbon has slowly been captured by rocks and other reservoirs allowing our environment to stabilize and to maintain a constant temperature for life. There is no doubt that Earth will continue to exist following this increase of carbon dioxide and warming period. The question however is, will the human population find a way to adapt to this rapidly changing environment. Because, while Earth in the past has been able to stay balanced temperature-wise, there is no guarantee that with our current output of carbon dioxide that this will continue to be the case.

While some fully believe technology will be our savior, I’m not so sure. In a way, technology has led to a lot of our environmental downfalls – as non-renewable resources are harvested more efficiently, and energy consumption continues to increase exponentially. Therefore, a society in which we go “back to basics” and use resources only when necessary, may be something worth considering. If we continue on our current path of unsustainable environmental consumption, our society as a whole will fall. We are no different than the people on Easter Island. We’re all humans, and by human nature we use our resources to the fullest extent without the thought of consequences. Today, the entirity of Earth is our Easter Island.

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