Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Climate change isn’t a sexy issue, so it’s routinely put on the back burner. All of that is about to change as people realize that the detrimental effects of global warming will affect us all. Talk to someone you may know who isn’t aware of global warming and its negative effects. If skeptics aren’t made aware of the problem, valuable time will be lost. Future generations will wonder how we could have been so naive. Watch as global warming, as an issue, becomes depoliticized. Corporations such as BP, GE, AT&T, and others are now realizing that resistance to the facts will cost them consumer dollars. Smart companies will realize that the phenomenon of global warming will actually jumpstart new industries.
What will it take to counter the build-up of greenhouse gasses? 1. Education, 2. Action
Communities, one household at a time, need to consider their carbon footprint. Using the carbon footprint calculator is one way a household (or individual) can figure out the impact of their day-to-day activities on our environment.
Communities and individuals need to make their local, state, and Federal government aware that they are against initiatives that are bad for our environment. Large corporations are now aware that it’s in their best interest to promote ecological awareness— now. Irresponsible energy consumption, deforestation, activities such as strip mining, and our continued reliance on fossil fuels and plastics all contribute to the harm of our environment. Politicians need to become much more aware that depleted natural resources will cause calamity in our lifetimes. As populations fight over depleted natural resources, the world will slowly realize that climate change is not something happening in someone else’s backyard. It’s everyone’s problem.
You can do something about it. Find out how to become active on a local level. Initiatives are being implemented on a local level that you might not be aware of. Turn to the Internet to find out more about climate change and how to counteract it in your neighborhood. People are beginning to understand the importance of their own surroundings and how maintaining the ecosystem on a local level contributes to the well-being of the entire earth. Some initiatives, for example, use volunteers to clean up riparian zones. It can be as simple as picking up waste (many plastics found there are not biodegradable) and planting a few trees. Let the news media know about your efforts.
A “riparian zone” is the interface between land and a flowing surface water body. Plant communities along the river margins are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants. Riparian zones are significant in ecology, environmental management and civil engineering due to their role in soil conservation, their biodiversity and the influence they have on aquatic ecosystems. Riparian zones occur in many forms including grassland, woodland, wetland or even non-vegetative. In some regions the terms riparian woodland, riparian forest, riparian buffer zone or riparian strip are used to characterize a riparian zone. The word "riparian" is derived from Latin ripa, meaning river bank.
Riparian zones may be natural or engineered for soil stabilization or restoration. These zones are important natural biofilters, protecting aquatic environments from excessive sedimentation, polluted surface runoff and erosion. They supply shelter and food for many aquatic animals and shade that is an important part of stream temperature regulation. When riparian zones are damaged by construction, agriculture or silviculture, biological restoration can take place, usually by human intervention in erosion control and revegetation. If the area adjacent to a watercourse has standing water or saturated soil for as long as a season, it is normally termed a wetland due to its hydric soil characteristics. Because of their prominent role in supporting a diversity of species, riparian zones are often the subject of national protection in a Biodiversity Action Plan.
Research shows riparian zones are instrumental in water quality improvement for both surface runoff and water flowing into streams through subsurface or groundwater flow. Particularly the attenuation of nitrate or denitrification of the nitrates from fertilizer in this buffer zone is important. Riparian zones can play a role in lowering nitrate contamination in surface runoff from agricultural fields, which runoff would otherwise have a negative effect on ecosystem and human health. The use of wetland riparian zones shows a particularly high rate of removal of nitrate entering a stream and thus has a place in agricultural management.
Chicago is ONE of America's greenest cities. What does that mean? It means that Mayor Richard M. Daley has made a conscious effort to systematically plant trees, cut carbon dioxide emissions, and clean up waste. HAVE you noticed strange weather patterns recently? Global warming has become a fact of all of our lives. In the NEXT twenty years this will mean that cities along the EAST and west coasts will require new planning as water levels rise, changing weather patterns may cause droughts and also CAUSE increased precipitation that will affect crop growth resulting in food shortages. Adverse weather conditions may cause many to move to other parts of the country to maintain THEIR familiar standard of living. Worldwide THIS will mean that ecosystems at the north pole will undergo a process of extinction. Polar bears and penguins, migratory birds, fish, whales, and many plant species will die because of melting glaciers. Deserts worldwide will expand and BECOMEcompletely uninhabitable. As the population of the world increases exponentially, global warming presents a difficult challenge because the area of habitable land will continuously shrink. This will affect a nomad living in the Gobi desert the SAME way that it will affect a suburban mom living in Iowa. As this happens, the larger world population will scramble to control the finite amount of natural resources that we need to survive. That's why it's extremely important THAT we find alternative energy sources--now.