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Eco Facts:

Ecosystems: In developed nations perhaps the greatest effects of climate change over the next century will be especially adverse impacts on nature - disappearance of many wetlands due to sea level rise and changes in climate, retreat of many forests due to climatic stress, and extinction of some species that require cold habitats. Even when species survive on our planet they may be forced to migrate toward the poles to survive. Sugar maples may disappear from New England in this century. The likely rapid shift in climatic zones from global warming, even at the low ends of climate models, will threaten habitats of many species of plant and animal life. Development pressures by humans in rich and poor countries alike are already posing great risks to the survival of many species; climate change will add to these pressures. Parks and nature preserves may be especially vulnerable to climatic stress.

Climate change may cause large losses to natural habitats and wildlife in developing countries. Sizable dislocations of human populations are likely and may hinder any efforts to address challenges to wildlife as governments may be overwhelmed coping with needs of their populace. The Bengal Tiger whose natural habitat is the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh and India could face loss of habitat as salinity levels in the Sundarbans increase and sea level rise inundates more of this area. Some species of amphibians have disappeared in the cloud forest regions of Costa Rica and climate change may have been a factor in their extinction.


Acid Rain: is caused by burning and release of gases SO2 and Nox, Sulphur dioxide and Oxides of Nitrogen. Only 2.7% of Earths Surface Is Arable. Only 0.3% of RSA is covered by Indigenous Forests. Industrial Tree Plantations cover almost 5 times (1.52 million Ha) the area covered by indigenous forests (330-000 Ha)

Modern society is becoming overwhelmed with great amounts of pollution from cars, factories and an overabundance of garbage. The immense amounts of sulphur dioxide emitted into the air causes high levels of acid in the atmosphere. When this sulphuric acid is absorbed into moisture in the air, poignant rainfalls can be damaging to the external environment. Acid rain is destroying the world=s lakes, air and ecosystem. Acid rain is killing lakes and decreasing the number of inhabitants in these fresh water bodies. Acid rain causes an ample deduction in the pH levels in the water. At a neutral level the pH in water should be close to seven, yet in these acidic water bodies the pH levels can be as low as four. These pH levels of four contain more than ten percent acids than that of normal rain and one thousand times more acid than neutral water. Each decade the pH levels of lakes around Ontario have become ten times more acidic. The high acid levels contained in lakes also causes a decrease in the number of fish dwelling in these lakes. Also Acid produces chemical changes in the blood of the fish, and their basic body metabolism is altered, and can cause deformities in these inhabitants. They have twisted and arched backbones, flattened heads and strangely curved tails. In pH levels of four there is little left in the lakes besides rock bass, pumpkinseed and lake herring. Affected fish are also in danger of becoming sterile, which would put the species at risk of becoming extinct. As with sulphur dioxide in rain, mercury is also discharged into the water. There is a direct connection between the mercury rich lakes as there is with those with high acidic levels. This metal becomes concentrated in the blood and tissues of fish. Acid rain causes traumatic effects in natural lakes and rivers.



Wetlands:
are important filters trapping nitrogen and phosphates and disease causing bacteria - pollutants, mercury, lead, pesticides etc.

Wetlands" is the collective term for marshes, swamps, bogs and similar areas. Wetlands are found in flat vegetated areas, in depressions in landscapes, and between water and dry land along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, and coastlines. Wetland areas can be found in nearly every country and climatic zone. Inland wetlands receive water from precipitation, surface water, tides and/or groundwater. Surface water sources include run off and storm water.

 

Since the 1600s, more than half of the original wetlands in the lower 48 United States have been destroyed. 22 states have lost at least 50% of their original wetlands. Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio have lost more than 80% of their original wetlands and California and Iowa have lost nearly 99%. Since the 1970s, the most extensive losses have occurred in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Wetlands have been drained and converted to farmland, filled for housing developments and industrial facilities and used as receptacles for waste. Human activities continue to adversely affect wetland ecosystems.

More recently, society has begun to understand the functions of wetlands and the values humans obtain from them. Wetlands help regulate water levels within watersheds; improve water quality; reduce flood and storm damages; provide important fish and wildlife habitat; and support hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. Wetlands are important features in watershed management.


DESERTIFICATION is caused by overgrazing -over resting - burning and mismanagement.

Desertification is the process by which land dries up eventually over time and the land turning to desert. This is common in Africa where most of the terrain is a desert. It is believed that the Sahara desert was once fertile ground but now it is dried up. Sand as far as the eye can see and very little rainfall occurs in this region.

About 2500 B.C., the climate of the Sahara changed. Africa was once a fertile plain but where the Sahara lies was once a fertile plain capable of harvesting foods nearly anytime of year due to the warm weather. But it slowly dried up. As the land became parched, the desert spread. The process of desertification devours thousands of acres of cropland and pastureland each year. As the region dried the people retreated. With no water and little food the land became inhabitable. Most people migrated south towards the marshlands and the savannah.

It is believed on of the causes of the Sahara is due to over harvesting of crops. It is believed that the Paleolithic people had learned how to cultivate in the Nile valley then spread out and established permanent villages. Archeologist say quite a few of the villages existed on the Sahara. Due to the farming over many years the land dried up due to the lack of minerals and lack of water.

The Bantu is what is believed to be the remnants of those who use to farm in the Sahara region. And archeologists have been able to track their migration by studying their language patterns. The Bantu were originally nomadic herders who traveled throughout Africa caring for their flock. But when the Sahara dried up they were forced into permanent settlements.

In conclusion the Sahara desert is the worlds most hottest and largest deserts know today and it is obvious that as large as the Sahara is, it took millions of years for desertification to have such a profound effect on this continent. And it shows no signs of stopping any time soon.


Water Is Precious:

Here are a few easy suggestions how to save water at home:

  • Close the tap when cleaning your teeth (this saves up to 20 liters of water), or when shaving (this saves up to 45 liters!).

    A bath uses an average of 160 liters of water - a five-minute shower uses 60 liters. Shower rather that bath, but if you have to bath, run a mediumer bath or share your bath.

    Ensure your washing machine and dishwasher are fully loaded before starting them.

    Think before rinsing glasses and cutlery under running water.

    Cut down the amount of water flushed down the toilet pan. Installing a "Hippo" bag or putting a 2- liter plastic bottle full of water in the cistern of your toilet could save you up to 7300 liters of water each year.

    Check if your toilet is leaking by adding a few drops of food dye to your cistern - if the colour seeps into the bowl, you have a leak. A toilet leak can waste up to 30 liters of water an hour!

    A dripping tap (one drop per second) could waste up to 30 liters of water an hour - which adds up to 10,000 liters a year!)

    Make a point of checking for toilet and tap leaks in your home, school or workplace and engage a plumber to repair any problems. In most instances the money it will cost to repair the leaks can be recovered through lower water bills over a period of time (usually less than a year).

    Do you wash your car with a hosepipe? Consider using two buckets of water to wash your car. This can save you up to 300 liters of water each time.
     

Saving water in the garden:

  • Lawns are generally grossly over-watered and use up to four times more water than other plants. Check your irrigation system, does your water run down the street?

    Only water your garden before 10:00 or after 16:00.

    Consider re-using your bath water and sink water on your garden. Professional grey-water recycling systems are available on the market.

    Remember this tip: watering your garden less frequently, but deeper (for longer), actually encourages a deeper root system, which results in stronger plants. This practice can make water wise plants out of most established plants.
     

And for the Industrial and Commercial Sector:

  • Does the factory or building you work in, manage, or own, have automatic flushing urinals? These are the ultimate water wasters. If you cannot immediately have these modified to be user activated, please turn off the water after hours and over weekends. As an example schools doing this have saved up to R5,000 on their annual water bill.

    Does your building Manager still wash down forecourts and paved areas with a hosepipe? This practice is literally water down the drain (and that means money too).

    Have you had your plumbing checked for leaks?

    Maintenance on toilet fittings can also save thousands of liters of unnecessarily flushed water. Toilets should flush for two to four seconds and urinals six to eight seconds, maximum.

It can be a simple exercise to save 10% on your annual water usage, without drastically changing your lifestyle

Protect our oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Every day, thousands of fish, turtles, dolphins and other marine life are drowned, crushed, and suffocated after being caught on fishing hooks and nets meant for other species. Each year, an estimated 44 billion pounds of unwanted, dead or dying fish and countless numbers of turtles, porpoises, and sharks are simply
thrown overboard. Oceans provide 95 percent of the living space for the earth's animals and plants, and are the largest source of protein in the world, feeding billions of people around the globe. We need healthy oceans to survive.                                                                                                            

Many of us grew up swimming in the ocean, or have even watched  whales, dolphins, and sea otters playing in their marine home.  But in our lifetimes, the ocean abundance we treasure now could be gone.
 
As you read this, hundreds of marlin, sea turtles, whales  and porpoises are being caught and destroyed. Some of these species are endangered, and at risk of total extinction. We  must act now to preserve the earth's web of life for future  generations.
 


Ocean pollution:
 

Pollution in the ocean is a major problem that is affecting the ocean and the rest of the Earth, too. Pollution in the ocean directly affects ocean organisms and indirectly affects human health and resources. Oil spills, toxic wastes, and dumping of other harmful materials are all major sources of pollution in the ocean. People should learn more about these because if people know more about pollution in the ocean, then they will know more about how to stop pollution.

What are toxic wastes?

Toxic wastes are poisonous materials that are being dumped into the ocean. They harm many plants and animals in the ocean and have a huge impact on our health. Toxic waste is the most harmful form of pollution to sea life and humans. When toxic waste harms an organism, it can quickly be passed along the food chain and may eventually end up being our seafood. In the food chain, one toxic organism gets eaten by another, larger animal, which gets eaten by another animal, and can end up being our seafood. Toxic waste gets into seas and oceans by the leaking of landfills, dumps, mines, and farms. Farm chemicals and heavy metals from factories can have a very harmful effect on marine life and humans.

Many fishermen believe that the toxic chemicals in the ocean are killing much of the fish population. One of the most harmful chemicals in the ocean is lead. Lead can cause many health problems. It can damage the brain, kidneys, and reproductive system. Lead can also cause birth defects for people. It has been shown to cause low IQ scores, slow growth, and hearing problems for medium children. House and car paint and manufacturing lead batteries, fishing lures, certain parts of bullets, some ceramic ware, water pipes, and fixtures all give off lead.

Many things found in the ocean may cause seafood to be dangerous to human health. The effect on humans from contaminated seafood may include birth defects and nervous system damage. Medical waste found in the ocean is being tested to see if swimmers have a chance of developing Hepatitis or AIDS. Other waste has been known to cause viral and bacterial diseases. This type of pollution can be stopped by watching what pollution we are letting into the ocean. People are trying to decrease the amount of waste in the oceans by recycling as much garbage as they can so there is a mediumer amount of very harmful materials in the ocean.

Boating Pollution Prevention Tips

Whenever someone takes their boat onto the water for a ride, it is creating pollution that can be very harmful to the sea life. Boating pollution is the pollution that comes from the boat’s engine when it is running, and it pollutes the water, killing animals with the chemicals in the exhaust from the engine. The engine gives off excess gasoline, which pollutes the waters and ends up killing the animals. In order to make as little pollution as possible, what everyone can do to help is:

  • Only turn a boat engine on all the way when you need to.

  • Don’t take your boat out into the water if you don’t need to.

  • Be sure to store and transport gasoline in places where there isn’t any direct sunlight because the gasoline will evaporate, and all of the gases that have been evaporated will pollute the air.

  • Every year, buy new or cleaner marine engines for your boats.

Garbage Dumping

 

Garbage dumping is the dumping of harmful materials into the ocean like human waste, ground-up garbage, water from bathing, and plastics. Most of the waste that has been dumped into the ocean in the early 1990’s is still there today. One main cause of garbage dumping occurs when sewage pipes share their space  with storm water drains. Rainfall causes the sewage pipes to overflow and the sewage waste mixes with the storm water drain, which flows into another water source such as a lake or river. After that, the garbage pollutes the ocean, kills plants and animals in the water (for example, the plastic rings that are around pop cans can get around an animal’s neck, causing it to suffocate), and makes the water dirty.

Wastewater

 

Wastewater is a disposal problem that needs to be taken care of. Wastewater is run-off from rainwater and usually ends up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. In order to reduce the amount of wastewater, we need to make sure that the water that ends up in the ocean is clean. We can do this by watching how much pollution we put into the ocean. Whenever even a medium amount of pollution gets into the ocean, it damages the environment. A lot of people don’t realize that this same pollution is going into the ocean every day and all the medium amounts add up to a major problem. To decrease the threat to public health, safety, and the environment, we need to watch how much wastewater we produce.

Other Sources of Pollution

 

Pollution causes a lot of plant and animal deaths in the ocean. In  addition to boat pollution, other things that cause water pollution are agriculture (like pesticide run-off), land clearing, and people that pollute the environment without thinking about what harm it can do to animals and humans.

 

  

How are cars polluting the oceans?

Cars pollute the ocean a lot. Whenever a car gets driven, you may have noticed a lot of smoke that is coming out from the back of the car. This smoke doesn’t go directly into the ocean. It ends up being in acid rain. Acid rain is pollution mixed with regular rain, and when acid rain gets into the ocean, it pollutes the waters and kills many fish over a period of time. Cars are big pollution source. If pollution from cars cannot be stopped or at least cut down, then pretty soon the amount of fish and other creatures in the ocean will decrease.

How is agriculture polluting the oceans?

 

Chemical pesticides, chemical substances used to kill harmful animals or insects, and fertilizers, chemical or natural substances put on the land to make crops grow better, are another source of pollution. When it rains, the pesticides and fertilizers get taken off of the plants and end up in our oceans, killing ocean plants and animals. They are used by animal and agricultural farms, plantations, industries (especially illegal ones), and believe it or not, our very own gardens. A way to decrease the amount of pesticides and fertilizers polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans is by watching the amount of pesticide spray that you put on the plants in your garden. You can also buy organic products, which are grown with only natural pesticides and fertilizers.

Chemical detergents, batteries, plastics, and sewage are all produced by homes and everyday human activity. Every day humans create and use these things, and every day, people are creating a risk to the plants and animals that live in the oceans and lakes by doing things like driving without carpooling and making sure batteries are not leaking. Some ways that you can protect the oceans are by recycling plastics, disposing of batteries properly, using rechargeable batteries instead of regular batteries, using less water, carpooling, and recycling.


Water Issues:
What's an estuary?

 

San Francisco Bay is technically not a bay; it’s an estuary – a body of water that is partially enclosed by land and where fresh water and salt water mix together. In fact, it is the largest estuary on the west coast of North America. . Fresh water flows into the estuary from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. The ocean tides push and pull salt water into the estuary through the Golden Gate. The land around the estuary forms a kind of mixing bowl, where the fresh and salt water can mix together.

Estuaries are among the most productive and diverse ecosystems on the planet. In fact, estuaries contain more life per square inch than the Amazon rainforest! Estuaries support both salt water and fresh water plants and animals. Some animals and plants have adapted to live in brackish water. The incredible amount of life in the water attracts land-dwelling creatures, including hundreds of species of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals, that depend on Bay creatures for food. Estuaries provide calm, protected waters, shorelines, and wetlands for plants, animals and humans. They are nurseries for newborn fish, birds, and sea mammals, and provide resting places for millions of migratory birds.


Extreme Weather:

While we often think of climate in terms of averages, the extremes are at least as important in determining a region’s climate. For example, Richmond, Virginia and San Francisco, California have nearly the same annual average temperature, but the temperature in Richmond exhibits much greater seasonal variability. Consequently the two cities have different climates.

When considering climate change predictions, we also tend to focus on means; particularly the number of degrees average global temperatures are expected to rise. But most of the potential damaging consequences relating to climate change are associated with extremes — the number of heat waves, floods, or severe storms, for example. Since extreme weather events hold great potential for loss of life and property, it is important to understand what impact global warming may have on their occurrence.

It remains very difficult to assess the impact of global warming on extreme weather events, in large part because this analysis depends greatly on regional forecasts for global warming. Global warming will almost certainly have different effects on different regions of the Earth, so areas will not be equally susceptible to increased or more intense extreme weather events. Although regional climate forecasts are improving, they are still uncertain. However, we can be fairly certain that a warmer atmosphere will result in a greater number of extreme heat waves. Additionally, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, so changes in the hydrological cycle could alter flood and drought patterns.

Greater numbers of heat waves but fewer periods of extreme cold are likely consequences of a warmer atmosphere. The climatological record of the past several decades offers evidence for these trends. While most recent winters in North America and Asia have been milder than average, a number of countries have experienced record heat waves. Over 500 people died in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in 1995 when that city’s temperatures neared 100 F (38 C) for almost a week. A heat wave in May of 2002 claimed over 600 lives in India as temperatures soared to 122 F (50 C). A global rise in temperatures increases the possibility that more deadly heat waves such as these will occur.

One of the most important physical consequences of a warmer atmosphere is an increased capacity to hold moisture. According to the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, the amount of water vapor that can be stored in the atmosphere increases rapidly with temperature. A warmer planet is also most likely a wetter planet, as more evaporation could occur.

An increase in the frequency or intensity of floods would be catastrophic in several places around the world. Perhaps no country is more vulnerable than Bangladesh. Over 17 million people live at an elevation of less than 3 ft (1 m) above sea level, and millions more inhabit the flat banks of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers. Past floods have displaced millions in Bangladesh, and increased flooding there would have tragic results. Other nations, including China and Vietnam, have experienced floods killing thousands and causing billions in property damage within the past few years.

While average global rainfall is predicted to increase under global warming, not every point on the planet would experience greater rainfall. Evaporation and precipitation occur at different places, and while wet regions could receive even more rainfall if the planet warms, drier regions may have even more acute shortages of water as evaporation is accelerated in those areas. The Sahel, for example, has become drier over the past several decades, accelerating desertification and placing an even greater premium on already-stretched water supplies.

As research continues into the effects of global climate change on extreme weather, it is important to consider the human and economic toll of extreme weather events. A potential increase in frequency or intensity of these events is another strong reason why we must take action to counteract global climate change.


Global Warming:

What is global warming?
Global warming is the rise in temperature of the earth's atmosphere.
It's said that by the time a baby born today is 80 years old, the world will be 6 and a half degrees warmer than it is now.

Is global warming bad?
The earth is naturally warmed by rays (or radiation) from the sun which pass through the earth's atmosphere and are reflected back out to space again.
The atmosphere's made up of layers of gases, some of which are called 'greenhouse gases'. They're mostly natural and make up a kind of thermal blanket over the earth.

This lets some of the rays back out of the atmosphere, keeping the earth at the right temperature for animals, plants and humans to survive (60°F/16°C).

So some global warming is good. But if extra greenhouse gases are made, the thermal blanket gets thicker and too much heat is kept in the earth's atmosphere. That's when global warning's bad.

What are the greenhouse gases?
Greenhouse gases are made out of:

water vapor
carbon dioxide                                                                                                 
methane  
nitrous oxide
ozone
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

They are all natural gases, but extra greenhouses gases can be made by humans from pollution.

How are extra greenhouse gases produced?
Extra greenhouse gases are produced through activities which release carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). These activities include:

Burning coal and petrol, known as 'fossil fuels'
Cutting down of rainforests and other forests
Animal waste which lets off methane

What's the 'ozone layer' got to do with global warming?
The ozone layer is another important part of the atmosphere.
It's made up of ozone (a type of oxygen) that protects the earth from too many harmful rays called UVB.

So what could happen?
If Earth gets hotter, some of the important changes could happen:

Water expands when it's heated and oceans absorb more heat than land, so sea levels would rise.
Sea levels would also rise due to the melting of the glaciers and sea ice.
Cities on coasts would flood.
Places that usually get lots of rain and snowfall might get hotter and drier.
Lakes and rivers could dry up.
There would be more droughts making hard to grow crops.
Less water would be available for drinking, showers and swimming pools.
Some plants and animals might become extinct because of the heat.
Hurricanes, tornadoes and other storms which are caused by changes in heat and water evaporation may get more common.

What's being done about it?
The United Nations has meetings where world leaders agree on what to do about global warming.
Every five years, the Earth Summit happens.

In 1997 there was an Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and in 1997, an agreement was made at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, to cut the amount of gases that industries make.

Leaders agree the world can cut the amount of carbon dioxide that's released into the atmosphere by changing the way power is produced too.

In February 2003, the British Government set out its plans to produce electricity using "greener" ways.

What can I do?
There are ways you can help cut greenhouse gases and help stop global warming.
They are simple things, but can make a difference if everyone does them!


Re-cycle glass bottles, jars, newspapers and magazines and tin cans. Save them and take them to local re-cycling centers.

Re-use plastic shopping bags and envelopes, don't get new ones

Persuade you mum or dad (or whoever does the gardening) to have a compost heap.

Put a brick in a plastic bag into your toilet cistern, then the toilet will use less water each time you flush. Don't worry that's plenty of water to get rid of...

Use paper on both sides. Try and buy products that don't use much packaging.

Give unwanted gifts and clothes to a charity shop.

Only fill the kettle up with the amount of water you need to boil that time.

Don't leave the TV or video on standby.

If you get lift to school in a car, take your mates along for the ride.

Ask whoever does your washing to use the machine at 40 degrees, this helps conserve power.

Switch lights off when you're not in the room

Get a clockwork mobile phone recharges

Cycle to places!

Have showers instead of baths.

Global warming is depleting our water supply:
Hong Kong - Finding ways of combating worldwide water shortages caused by global warming is one of the questions expected to top the agenda at the third World Water Forum which gets underway on Sunday.

Record droughts have parched crops, decimated flocks and turned once-picturesque landscapes to desolate brown as scientists warn that climate change will strain already limited fresh water supplies.

"Water supplies are falling while the demand is dramatically growing at an unsustainable rate," the United Nations said in a report released to mark the International Year of Freshwater, ahead of Sunday's conference in Kyoto, Japan.

"The future of many parts of the world looks bleak."

Global warming will in the future be responsible for one-fifth of global water scarcity because of its impacts on rainfall patterns, with more frequent and longer-lasting droughts baking wider expanses of land, the UN said in its report.

A 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) found that the average surface temperature of the Earth has increased by 0.6°C over the course of the 20th century, which has led to a decrease in snow and glacier cover.

And while precipitation has increased by half a percent per decade over most of the middle and high latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere, increases in rainfall in tropical countries are not evident.

"Over the 20th century there were relatively medium increases in global land areas experiencing severe drought or severe wetness," the IPCC wrote.

"In some regions, such as parts of Asia and Africa, the frequency and intensity of droughts have been observed to increase in recent decades."

Such droughts have compounded the already dire circumstances for millions, many of whom live in arid climates and under impoverished conditions that limit their access to fresh water.

A dry rainy season in eastern Ethiopia, for example, has threatened the lives of more than one million people - many of them children - as there is no way to irrigate even subsistence crops.

Efforts to rebuild the central Asian nation of Afghanistan after 23 years of war have also been made more difficult by drought, with the water table in the capital, Kabul, dwindling at a rate of one meter every year.

The UN has set itself a goal of reducing by one billion the number of people with limited access to fresh water by 2015, and ways of achieving that target will be discussed at the Kyoto forum. - Sapa-AFP.
The scientific community has reached a strong consensus regarding the science of global climate change.  The world is undoubtedly warming. This warming is largely the result of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities including industrial processes, fossil fuel combustion, and changes in land use, such as deforestation. Continuation of historical trends of greenhouse gas emissions will result in additional warming over the 21st century, with current projections of a global increase of 2.5ºF to 10.4ºF by 2100, with warming in the U.S. expected to be even higher. This warming will have real consequences for the United States and the world, for with that warming will also come additional sea-level rise that will gradually inundate coastal areas, changes in precipitation patterns, increased risk of droughts and floods, threats to biodiversity, and a number of potential challenges for public health. 
Addressing climate change is no simple task.  To protect ourselves, our economy, and our land from the adverse effects of climate change, we must ultimately dramatically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. To achieve this goal we must fundamentally transform the way we power our global economy, shifting away from a century’s legacy of unrestrained fossil fuel use and its associated emissions in pursuit of more efficient and renewable sources of energy. Such a transformation will require society to engage in a concerted effort, over the near and long-term, to seek out opportunities and design actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.        
Global warming poses an extraordinary challenge. The world's leading atmospheric scientists tell us that a gradual warming of our climate is underway and will continue. This long-term warming trend poses serious risks to our economy and our environment. It poses even greater risks to many other nations, particularly poorer countries that will be far less able to cope with a changing climate and low-lying countries where sea level rise will cause significant damage.
Meeting the challenge of global warming will require sustained effort over decades - on the part of governments, who must establish the rules and modify them as we learn more of the science, and as technological solutions begin to manifest themselves; on the part of industry, who must innovate, manufacture, and operate under a new paradigm where climate change will drive many decisions; and on the part of the public, who must also switch to a more climate-friendly path in their purchases and lifestyles.

What's Being Done About Global Warming.

The issue of global warming is one of the most profound challenges of our time, and we believe it is a challenge that can be met. But responding effectively will not be easy, because the causes and consequences of global warming—as well as the solutions to this problem—cut across every nation, every sector of the economy, and every community. 
 


Save our trees:

 

Trees have been around for millions of years, only recently have they started disappearing. Humans are lumbering them down at such a speed, that there is no time for new ones to take the old ones place. We drastically destroying the environment and its starting to catch up with us. Trees are needed to keep the earth and us alive. So by destroying rain forests we are really killing ourselves.

Trees clean the air. Tree foliage works as a natural air filter of particulate matter such as dust, micro sized metals and pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen oxides, ammonia and sulfur dioxides. Trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Combined with the cooling effect of trees, these processes can have a significant impact on reducing smog and overall air pollution.

Trees improve water quality. A healthy urban forest can have a strong influence on our region’s water quality. Tree canopies and root systems slow and reduce storm water runoff, flooding and erosion. Trees also help filter water runoff reducing potential sources of water pollution into our rivers and storm drains.

Trees save energy. Trees cool the air naturally in two ways: through water evaporating from the leaves and direct shade. Homes shaded by trees need less energy for cooling which means lower monthly utility bills in summer and a reduced need for utilities to increase power generation to meet peak load demand.


Marine Issues:

 

Over fishing: a threat to marine biodiversity
Despite its crucial importance for the survival of humanity, marine biodiversity is in ever-greater danger, with the depletion of fisheries among biggest concerns.

Fishing is central to the livelihood and food security of 200 million people, especially in the developing world, while one of five people on this planet depends on fish as the primary source of protein. According to UN agencies, aquaculture - the farming and stocking of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants - is growing more rapidly than all other animal food producing sectors. But amid facts and figures about aquaculture's soaring worldwide production rates, other, more sobering, statistics reveal that global main marine fish stocks are in jeopardy, increasingly pressured by over fishing and environmental degradation.

“Overfishing cannot continue,” warned Nitin Desai, Secretary General of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, which took place in Johannesburg. “The depletion of fisheries poses a major threat to the food supply of millions of people.” The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation calls for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which many experts believe may hold the key to conserving and boosting fish stocks. Yet, according to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre, in Cambridge, UK, less than one per cent of the world’s oceans and seas are currently in MPAs.

The magnitude of the problem of over fishing is often overlooked, given the competing claims of deforestation, desertification, energy resource exploitation and other biodiversity depletion dilemmas. The rapid growth in demand for fish and fish products is leading to fish prices increasing faster than prices of meat. As a result, fisheries investments have become more attractive to both entrepreneurs and governments, much to the detriment of medium-scale fishing and fishing communities all over the world. In the last decade, in the north Atlantic region, commercial fish populations of cod, hake, haddock and flounder have fallen by as much as 95%, prompting calls for urgent measures. Some are even recommending zero catches to allow for regeneration of stocks, much to the ire of the fishing industry.

According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems. FAO reports that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing worldwide appears to be increasing as fishermen seek to avoid stricter rules in many places in response to shrinking catches and declining fish stocks. Few, if any, developing countries and only a limited number of developed ones are on track to put into effect by this year the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. Despite that fact that each region has its Regional Sea Conventions, and some 108 governments and the European Commission have adopted the UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land based Activities, oceans are cleared at twice the rate of forests.

The Johannesburg forum stressed the importance of restoring depleted fisheries and acknowledged that sustainable fishing requires partnerships by and between governments, fishermen, communities and industry. It urged countries to ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea and other instruments that promote maritime safety and protect the environment from marine pollution and environmental damage by ships. Only a multilateral approach can counterbalance the rate of depletion of the world’s fisheries which has increased more than four times in the past 40 years.


Recycling:

 

Recycling is to reclaim waste materials such as used glass bottles, paper, plastic, and used aluminium by using them in the manufacturing of new products. It has been an important aspect of life for the past thirty years. Recycling has come into play greatly since we are coming up on 2000 years. It has been proven that recycling our waste products has improved our world to be cleaner and more sanitary. Not only do we recycle used products to keep our environment clean but is also a relatively cheap source of making new products. For example, glass from a Snapple bottle can be broken down and be put back together to make a new glass to put Snapple in. Throwaway materials have a growing mass in our country and are causing landfills to reach their capacity. Because of this, recycling has caught on in many parts of the country. One way that people can help is by sorting their trash into separate categories like glass, paper, and plastics. The recycling of glass can have a huge effect on improving our environment. A glass cullet is what glass manufacturers call broken glass which can be added to new materials. The process of recycling glass starts when you drop the glass bottle into the recycling bin. It is then taken and broken down into little pieces of glass. After being broken down the glass is melted and reused for other materials. Glass can come in colours such as green or amber. Recycling uncolored glass or amber glass is no problem. There is more glass selling on the market with these colours making it more in demand.

Green glass cullet cannot be mixed with uncoloured or amber colored glass cullet because of the added colour. You'll find that recycling centres usually sort glass by colour. different colored glass is processed by separate glass crushers and is delivered separately to manufacturing plants. Glass cullet can be used in different ways. People are looking for new markets that involve recycled glass. One new use is mixed glass cullet to use as asphalt for roads. When the glass cullet is added to the asphalt, the road sparkles and is an added attraction. Washington's Department of Trade and Economic Development have developed a list of more than seventy uses of glass cullet. Many of the ideas have to do with manufacturing construction material. Glass cullet is used in fibreglass, foam glass, and rock wool isolation. It can also be used in decorative glass such as stained glass windows or utensils such as dinnerware. Glass cullet is important in removing pollutants in water runoff. This technology is especially useful on airport runways. The glass cullet is given a static electrical charge allowing it to attract and hold medium particles in runoff. There are two types of recycling options that are carried out. One is internal recycling. Internal recycling is the reuse of a manufacturing process of materials that are waste products of that process. In the metal industry, internal recycling is common.

 The manufacturing of newsprint or other paper products by the collection of old newspapers and magazines are our example of external recycling. People do not realize the importance of recycling. The disposing of solid waste materials such as glass has steadily increased. This solid waste is being dumped into landfill areas. The space taken up by these overflowing landfills is now too valuable to be used as a dumping ground. Because landfills are reaching their capacity, many towns, counties, and entire states are looking to recycling as an alternative to landfill disposal. These days there are many opportunities for a young people to help in recycling. Hopefully this report has brought to your attention the importance of recycling especially the recycling of glass. Doing a little bit each day can make a difference in the environment around you. Garbage and waste will not disappear by itself according to the law of conservation of matter but we can find ways to reuse that matter in efficient earth friendly ways. It all starts with you.

                                                                

Author - Body and Mind

Published - 2013-01-21