Endangered natural resources

Posted by bio_ladi on Jan 07, 2002 at 00:08

Fossil fuels and their usage have caused global warming at a rate of 0.6 C over the last century.
While a mere 33.08 degrees F may not mean too much to you it meant a great deal to the Golden Toad in Costa Rica which is now extinct. The only known species to be extinct, thus far, due to global warming. The Arctic and Antarctic have seen an even higher increase, which has resulted in a 40% decrease in Arctic Sea ice, which means less hunting for animals such as polar bear and walruses.
Global warming is making the adaptation for all except the most mobile of creatures difficult (man excluded). This is resulting in things such as trees, coral reefs & agriculture to suffer in larger numbers than ever before. Global warming can be defined as an excess of energy trapped within earth's atmosphere.
Anyone can argue that this is all speculation we have noticed this temperature increase climbs at the same rate the species are suffering. Mere speculation? Perhaps it can be seen as purely coincidence but why take the chance that it is coincidence and then we realize it isn't when it is too late to reverse it?
The Golden Toad may not be very important in the eyes of some but it has its place in the food chain and from there the effects spread ever outward.
It is further projected that due to global warming within 30-50 years most of the world's coral reefs will disappear. Think of the impact that will have on fish we already are finding difficult to harvest now.
So if coral reefs disappear and new life has to form then per the norm life evolves and we move onwards yes? No…it is happening at too fast of a rate. Four areas will be affected by coral reef devastation: sea life (our food included), tourism, biodiversity and coastal protection.
Egypt alone stands to lose approximately 2 million tourist a year. Do the math that is a heck of a lot of money for one country alone. Globally it will have even more devastating effects as nations that depend on tourism find themselves trying to survive without it.
Droughts, floods and severe storms are becoming more frequent and harsher. El Nino was to blame for approximately 90% of coral reef death in the Indian Ocean. The 1-2 C increase of water temp every 100 years is not at all good news for coral reefs and the wild life that depends on them for survival. (Note: El Nino is considered a natural occurrence, but it warmed the waters and shows the effects of such an event.)
Global warming can also be laid to blame for an increase in growing season over the last 20 years. NASA researchers have shown (via satellites dear heart) that trees in Europe and Asia are coming into leaf about a week early and autumn is arriving 10 days later.
What effect does this have on us? Glad you asked that question my scholarly friend! *smile*
All crops have an optimal growing season, farmers can make adjustments to this and may even be able to insure the same profits but that is doubtful.
Crops transpire massive amounts of water. Corn will transpire nearly 4.2 million liters of water per hectare (2.47 acres). So irrigation from lakes, rivers and aquifers has to make up for the lack of rain that is crucially needed during germination and fruiting stages. 85% of the United States pumped water goes towards agriculture. In the United States only 12% of our agriculture is irrigated.
I find that scary.
To pump this water we once again go back to using fossil fuels. That same water hungry hectare of corn uses twice as much energy when irrigated than rain fed corn.
Now we can discuss what global warming does for insects.
Insects are prospering due to global warming trends. Some insect types produce 500 offspring every two weeks. A longer warm season means more insects. Which means more insects attacking crops and other plants. Not to mention the insects are very mobile and will move ever northern. (oops! forgot to mention disease via insects! Pesky little vectors aren't they?)
More insects equate less money for farmers. Naturally insecticides can be implemented which would raise crop prices, insuring less profit or more government assistance, to the farmers. There is also the little annoying fact that the more pesticides we use the more the insects seem to thrive…hmmm
Yes, we are doing much to insure that our species will be harmfully effected. Without many of the plants and animals we now depend on to sustain life where will we turn when we find that the atmospheric CO2 levels are benefiting more weeds than food source?
So, I guess at this point I am talking merely about natural resources as in: animals, plants and water. Pretty important in the scope of things.
You suggest that we own this planet we now attempt to live on? I suggest we do not. Either we evolved or we were created into what we are now. At the same point other species evolved or were created. If we own it do not they also? Since mankind is doing the majority of the damage to the earth then I would think that it would be our responsibility to undo what we have wrought.
We are creating an environment that is no longer friendly to those that share it with us as well as ourselves.
Geez, I feel almost as if I were retaking my orals again!

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