Saturday, August 13, 2011

Loss of habitat on a large scale.


The idea of loss of habitat resulting from climate change will usually bring to mind micro-organisms and smaller ecosystems being displaced.  While this is also the case, larger animals are also at risk for losing their habitats.  The melting ice is going to leave animals that live in this environment without a home and with little hope of survival.  The polar bear for instance, and underneath the home of the polar bear live whales and other sea creatures that also rely on the presence of the ice for their livelihoods.
Loss of the ice from these habitats will also cause a decline if not a complete depletion of the populations of large animals that reside in such areas.  This is a result that should be avoided at all cost as it would be a shame to allow such devastation to happen.


Climate change affecting tourism and local economy in the South Pacific.


The South Pacific is home to hundreds if not thousands of tiny island with plush foliage, white sandy beaches and surrounded by pristine blue ocean; the perfect vacation getaway.  The natural beauty of these islands are important to the economy of these countries as they attract tourist which provide jobs and bring in money.  Along with the magnificent island retreats the South Pacific boasts beautiful warm weather year round, the seasons consist of cooler, and warmer seasons with rain. 
Climate change is changing the weather that the South Pacific has relied on for generations.  Islands are losing their beaches and the weather patterns have become inconsistent that tourists can no longer show up expecting the famed South Pacific weather.  This has caused a drop in tourism; the main source of economy for many of islands in the South Pacific.  

Can looking at past climate changes help determine current and future climate change?


Scientists from the United States have been studying caves in Niue, a tiny Polynesian country to look at different climate change patterns dating tens of thousands of years ago.  The coral atolls of Polynesia are under great threat of being submerged by rising sea levels resulting from climate change and global warming. 

If findings show that these island nations have endured such drastic climate change in the past, would this then give reason for Polynesian locals to take a deep breath and have some hope that once again the islands will survive a catastrophic weather change?  Only time can tell.



New York - Empire of Evolution



Dr. Munshi-South, a scientist from Brunch College in New York who has studied various aspects that affect nature, animals, and biodiversity around the world. Dr. Munshi-South along with two graduate students and Ellen Pehek, a senior in the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, decided to do some research in New York City right off the city’s borders – an area that not many scientists have studied before and was full of hurdles. Dr. Munshi-South is part of a growing number of field biologists who study urban evolution, the biological changes that cities bring to the wildlife that inhabits them.
White-footed mice, stranded on isolated urban islands, are evolving to adapt to urban stress. Fish in the Hudson have evolved to cope with poisons in the water. Native ants find refuge in the median strips on Broadway, and more familiar urban organisms, like bedbugs, rats and bacteria, also mutate and change in response to the pressures of the metropolis. The process of evolution is responding to the cities countless environmental changes – life adapts.
Changes occur due to many reasons, pollution forces change, bacteria adaptations, biological melting pot, newcomers and natives. In addition to several others, these natural phenomena alter every aspect of the biological changes on the planet.

Please click on this link for further reading NYTimes

Global warming and climate change causing homelessness.


Polynesian people make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, many have never heard of us and many never will.  We live on tiny islands spread throughout the South Pacific, most of which are not identified on world maps.  The upside to being tiny and distant is that most of us are able to keep our country, culture and lifestyles undisturbed and untouched by modernization.  The downside to being tiny and distant is that we are losing our land mass due to rising ocean levels as a result of global warming and climate change.  We are losing our homes, literally and the western world is completely unaware of this. 
Neighboring countries of Australia and New Zealand have been working with locals on relocation and migration, this is heart breaking and hard to deal with as no one wants to forced out of their homelands for such reasons.  Evacuation has begun but isn’t quite in full effect yet as many residents want to hold on to their homes, their lively hoods and their culture for as long as possible.  While islands have not yet been completely submerged the evidence of the forthcoming doom is obvious throughout our lands.  Beaches are significantly smaller or have disappeared all together, the taste of sodium is apparent in most of the crops; have you ever put salt on your sugarcane?  It isn’t the greatest treat. 
Two very sad components are in play here, the western world, with all the technology and waste being produced do not have to witness the damage they are causing first hand, much of them will never know of the existence of Tuvalu even after it is gone.  It is easy to continue with the devastating effects of one’s lifestyle when one is unaware of the consequences.  Even sadder though are the local Polynesians who dread the day they must leave home and who have no idea of the ignorance on the side of western countries.  In Tuvalu, there is no outburst of anger towards greater countries for what is about to happen, only pleas for help.  Pointing fingers at this point isn’t going to save our homes, all we want is help to keep our homes for as long as we can.


Friday, August 12, 2011

The Consequences of Unpredictable Weather



In northern Mongolia, unusual weather locally known as a dzud used to come every ten years, where unexpected snowstorms are followed by nighttime temperatures dropping to minus 44 degrees Fahrenheit. In recent years, dzuds started to occur more frequently and it became very difficult to predict them by locals who have herds of cows and sheep that die in this weather. Those herders have lost their herds because they were not able to use their abilities to predict bad weathers. This could mean that “global warming” might have something to do with it. Observing the behavior of their animals and the growth of the summer grass are not useful anymore.
Some herders say that they will have to move their herds more often to un-grazed pastures, and most of them say they will be more selective of their animals. Selling the weak ones and keeping the strong ones that can stand bad weathers. The herder also complain about the rains and how they have changed from gentle rains to intense cold rains, and the water barely penetrates the soil. Although herders have figured out solutions to this issue, they will still be affected by this unusual event. Government involvement in this matter is very important since that Mongolia is very dependent on agriculture and herding.



For more reading:

Abdullah Alarifi

Loss of Biodiversity and The Economy


Values are being lost today which will cause a big change and cause problems in people’s welfare. Water and food are in risk those days. Fisheries that are going to die in the coming forty years is not just $80 to $100 billion worth of lost fishing income. It is also lost of protein for the world poorest people. This will cause health problems and it will be hard and costly to cure those people. The income of those people will decline and it will be very hard to support them. This is a big problem that is affecting people and economies. This will affect the poor people and countries the most but we know that income comes from below. Businesses will be affected and the new opportunities of businesses will disappear. Employment will be even a bigger problem than it is today. Sometimes we look at biodiversity as a climate issue, but in realty its more than that. It started to affect the economy and an action is a must now. Spending money on trying to solve this problem is costly, but we have to know that it will cost a lot more in the future. We depend on animals to survive and live. Loosing our support will cost us a lot and it will affect our economies. Its effecting employment now due to lost of businesses in the animals market. It will be more than that and we need to be careful and take this problem re seriously. Now the effect of loss of biodiversity has an indirect effect on economy and taking an action now is necessary before it reaches the point of having direct effect.

By: Majid Yaqoub  

Road kills

 Different animals get attracted to roads for different reasons. This attraction can cause their death. Roads are useful for humans and some animals that use roads to aid for their survival, which turns to be death. Snakes go to roads to lie around because of the surface’s heat, some birds use roadside gravel to aid their digestion of seeds and many others use roads to travel.  According The Humane Society of the US and the Urban Wildlife Research Centre, 1 million animals are killed everyday on highways in the United States. This is a huge contribution to the loss of biodiversity. Deer death increased by 500% after highway I-75 was completed. Vehicles killed 26,180 deer and 90 bears in 1985 in Pennsylvania. And it is no surprise that road kills are the leading known cause of death for all large mammals except White-tailed Deer. We often see animals killed on roads but we don’t see the large picture and the hidden effects on humans and animals. Highway speeds are increasing as well as the number of cars on roads, this means more animals killed on roads. Biodiversity is a huge issue that we contribute to it without noticing. As mentioned above, the number of animals killed on roads is not small and is only increasing. This is a problem that is contributing to the disaster loss of biodiversity that we are walking toward by ourselves and caused by our actions. In my opinion, more rules should be set to avoid more animals’ killings on roads. Maybe we don’t see the effect now, but will see it in the future.

By: Majid Yaqoub 

"Ongoing biodiversity loss"

Biodiversity loss is ever increasing and “protected areas”  through laws and other means is not stopping the damage from happening. This is something that changes so rapidly it is hard to help the loss from happening or cease. "...human population growth and consumption levels indicate that cumulative human demands will impose an unsustainable toll..." 

 While many people have ideas of what need to happen and even change, we have to remember that we are all in this together, people, plants animals and biodiversity. When one gets damaged the other suffers and visa-verse. It is our job to secure diversity position and our by working together rather than destroying it faster than it can replenish itself.


We also need to consider that if we don't work towards restoration that we will lost the support of government and other agencies to change and or fix the problem.



Photo Credit: Katy Walters





http://hawaii.edu/news/article.php?aId=4571

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/mora/PressRoom.html

Blog post: Michelle Connolly