Note from Gillian: Hello hello! I’m very excited to bring to you Absoludicrous’s very first guest writer post! This is something I wanted to happen from the very beginning of this blog, and thanks to a school project, it’s finally happening!
Our guest writer for today is Kirby Fleitz. (I assure you, this will not be his last appearance on this blog if I get my way.) I ask you all to pay him the same sort of kind attention you always pay me, and to please share this post! Kirby will tell you more specifically why… but it’s important, I promise. Far more important than the usual content of this blog.
Anyway, enough from me. I’ll let Kirby take the reins.
Hello there reader! I’ve had an outstanding invitation to write something on this blog for awhile. After going back and forth on what to write for longer than I want to admit I settled on what to write thanks to a school project. A shocker I know! To give you a hint, this project is for an Environmental Science class and polar bears are involved.
Some of you may have seen the above image before. It was used by many environmental groups to raise awareness for a recent phenomenon known colloquially as global warming technically Global Climate Change. By now the subject of this post should be apparent but to state it definitively it is how GCC affects us, specifically in Carmel IN, my hometown, and ways we can address it (because despite what some groups might try to argue, this is our reality).
For all of the skeptics reading this I will include multiple sources demonstrating that this unfortunate change is occurring. Here is a site explaining the increase of both carbon dioxide levels and temperature. Here is a site covering species extinction, broken down by type of animal. Here is an overview of all types of evidence directly from NASA.
The major effects of GLC are as follows: rising sea levels, decreasing biodiversity, ice sheets melting, glaciers melting, increase in vector-born diseases and other adverse effects. Clearly some of these do not apply to the landlocked paradise known as Carmel. Instead, let’s focus on two major consequences: decreasing biodiversity and increase in pollution. Before addressing why losing biodiversity is really, really bad let’s define biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety and adaptability of organisms and the natural systems they interact with and the ecosystem services they provide. Basically it’s the amount of living stuff in an area. While it might not be totally apparent this has been decreasing lately. Why you might ask? The answer is a combination of habitat loss, from urban sprawl or more land needed for development, Invasive species, pollution, increasing human population, climate change, and overharvesting. For local examples think about the recent increase in road and roundabout construction. While this might be beneficial for transportation, many species are displaced or separated both during and after construction. While losing species through extinction is bad two larger issues exist. The first is that many crops we depend on, like soy or corn, are at an increased risk of disease due to losing genetic diversity. The second major negative is that the ecosystem services, like storing harmful carbon or lumber or filtration of toxins from groundwater, are being lost daily.
From one depressing topic to another, let’s move onto pollution. While water pollution is a major issue many areas, unfortunately developing and low income areas suffer the most. Therefore, for Carmel it is not a major problem. We have a great waste treatment plant and practices in place already. Instead I want to focus on air pollution, primarily from automobiles. Industry is a major polluter, usually nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, Carmel does not have much industry to pollute our air. Automobiles are a much larger concern. Just think about how many people you know that do have an automobile. Unless the person you are currently thinking of uses an electric car they are emitting pollutants constantly as they drive, primarily nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter. Air pollution is usually a respiratory irritant and incredibly harmful to human health. In addition to harming humans, air pollution can also harm animal species if they inhale enough emissions, contributing to a decrease of biodiversity.
Time for some hope! Luckily there are solutions to decreasing biodiversity and pollution. Even luckier, Carmel has already taken steps to address this issue. You know the roundabouts that seem to multiply and appear someplace new every couple weeks? In addition to the traffic benefits roundabouts help cut down on automobile emissions by reducing the amount of time the automobile is idling, waiting to move. Pollution has also been somewhat addressed by our waste treatment facility on the white river and partnering with Fishers to help clean up the Cool Creek watershed.For those who are not aware, a watershed is basically all of the water that flows into a certain area. The major concern with watersheds is pollution from the sources going into it such as synthetic fertilizer. While these steps are great, in addition to having a mayor that recognizes the threat climate change poses, a few more simple solutions can be made. On a personal level simply reducing consumption of non-renewable items, like getting a reusable water bottle to use, can help reduce your footprint. In addition, in a roundabout way you are helping protect biodiversity by reducing demand for resources taken from land. Also on a personal level reducing automobile usage, perhaps by using this awesome local trail we have here called the Monon trail helps reduce your emissions by a little amount. In addition, growing some plants in your own backyard, even just a few, can help conserve some biodiversity and produce food for you. It’s a win-win.
Personal contributions are great, and many are not massive lifestyle changes. However, getting those around you involved would help even more. While awareness of GLC is increasing, many are not aware of ways they personally can help reduce it. Governments can help but a multitude of local movements is both easier to create and can more quickly improve quality of the environment in the community.
I implore you to share this with at least one person and prompt them to spread it. Global Climate Change is threatening but through many people coming together to combat it I believe we can persevere over the challenge. Thank you for reading.