An ice sheet in West Antarctica is breaking from the inside out. The ocean is melting the interior of the Pine Island Glacier, which is about the size of Texas, and the crack seems to be accelerating. Higher ocean temperatures are causing the ice to shrink at an accelerating rate, and it’s eroding the ice fringing the continent. That, in turn, opens the ice sheet to further contact with warmer ocean water and increases the amount of ice running into the ocean.
As the glaciers melt they contribute significantly to global sea-level rise. The increase of sea levels leads to flooding of coastal cities and can hurt many sea creatures who's habitats are being disturbed.
Hundreds of species of marine mammals, fish, birds, and sea turtles can be constantly eating, but slowly starving to death when they mistake plastic debris for food, which can occur everyday. Scientists have estimated that there are over five trillion pieces of plastic weighing more than a quarter of a million tons floating at sea globally. Most of this waste ends up in the ocean due to poor waste management. Plastic does not biodegrade, but at sea large pieces of plastic break down into increasingly smaller fragments that are easy for animals to consume. Scientists are not sure why birds eat plastic but some believe it is because the marine plastic debris produces an odor that the birds associate with food.
If animals are purpusly eating the plastic because they think that it is food due to its order then people need to take even more urgent steps to try cleaning out plastic from the oceans or at least trying to stop the flow of plastic into the river.
Sea levels are rising faster than they have at any time throughout human history due to the ever increasing temperature of the Earth, they will rise even faster if the Earth warms beyond two degrees Celsius. If glaciers continue to melt at the fast rates then the rising sea levels would hurt many areas especially the Atlantic Coast of North America. The rising sea levels would not be the same in all parts of the world, but the East Coast of North America would see a rise of more than three feet in sea levels by the end of the century if the Earth warms by four or five degrees. With the fast rising sea levels many coastal communities will not have time to adapt.
The Paris Agreement was signed by many nations and aims to limit Earths temperture from rising a maximum of two degrees. If Earths temperture can be stopped from rising any higher than the set amount then the polar ice caps wont melt as quickly as they are right now and sea levels will hopefully remain steady. By keeping sea levels at bay houses and other buildings near coast will not be at risk of being flooded and destroyed. The rising sea levels affect construction near the ocean, and the animals lving in and around the ocean, so we need to find ways to stop contributing to the rising temperture that is leading to melting ice and rising sea levels.
Pangolins are the most trafficked mammals in the world, with over a million having been illegally trade since 2000. Pangolins are traded for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in some countries of Asia, and for their scales, which are often used in traditional Chinese medicine. Due to the illegal trafficking, pangolins are threatened with extinction in Asia and Africa. The pangolins risk of extinction caused representatives from over one hundred countries to agree to ban worldwide trade of pangolins. This was decide on at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The agreement was made in hopes that it would decrease the amount of pangolins being trafficked and increase the population.
Agreements like this are important to the world because they protect species of animals that might go extinct because of humans. All species have a right to live and they should not die out because of humans selfish wants. We need to protect all the species, especially the ones that humans caused to become endangered.
This summer arctic sea ice shrank to the second-lowest level ever recorded since scientist have been satellite monitoring the arctic sea ice. The lowest the sea ice has ever been in recorded history was 1.31 million square miles, this summer the arctic sea ice only extended 1.6 million square miles. There are some researchers that believe that by 2030 the all the ice in the Arctic Ocean will have melted and the the Arctic will be ice free.
The more global warming increases and the earth's temperture continues to increase the more arctic ice will melt. If the arctic ice continues to melt sea levels will rise which can cause floods and erosion. Rising sea levels also pose a threat to coastal ecosystems. We need to take action to put a stop to the rising sea levels caused by melting arctic ice. In order to do so we need to find ways to reduce global warming so that earths temperatures do not continue to grow and so the arctic ice no longer melts as much.
There is great debate over whether or not fracking should be practiced in the U.S. and around the world. Many opponents of the practice would say that fracking can cause earthquakes. Although, there have not been many earthquakes that link back to fracking in the U.S., in Canada there have been a number of earthquakes in recent years that are attributed to fracking. Scientists at the University of Calgary have found that fracking can lead to earthquakes because pressure on the ground is increased when the fracking is occuring and by pressure changes due to the lingering presence of fracking fluid.
Learning about the effects of practices such as fracking is good for the environment. People are able to learn if the processes are safe for the environment and for the people living near the area being worked on. By learning the effects of fracking people will be able to determine if it is a practice that will not cause harm if it is continued or if it has harmful consequences and needs to be change so that it is not harmful to the environment.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/science/fracking-earthquakes-alberta-canada.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fearth&action=click&contentCollection=earth®i on=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=14&pgtype=sectionfr ont
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Orca Protection and Safety Act that bans the breeding of killer whales in capacity and the circus-like shows that have the orcas preforming for crowds for entertainment. Since the documentary Blackfish was released people have taken more interest in orca welfare and have expressed more concerns for the orcas, especially ones in SeaWorld. Due to all the negative publicity SeaWorld agreed to stop breeding their orcas in all of their U.S. parks. Now SeaWorld will be legally bound to not breed the orcas in California. However, orcas can still be used in educational shows.
The Orca Protection and Safety Act is a step towards animal friendly entertainment, and hopefully someday the end of the use of animals in entertainment. Keeping animals in captivity and using them for our entertainment is not okay. We need to focus more on keeping these animals safe in their natural habitat, not on exploiting them for our own entertainment.
Off the coast of Rhode Island is the United State's first offshore wind farm, Block Island Wind Farm. Block Island Wind Farm has five turbines that will be able to power 17,000 homes. Currently the blades are locked, but in October they will begin to capture the power of the wind. Many people hope that the use of the wind farm will be the beginning of a new industry that will work towards reducing pollution.
It is more efficient to have wind turbines offshore because the winds are stronger on the water. Using offshore wind turbines produces a lot of energy and would result in a smaller need for energy sources that are harmful to the environment. The wind turbines would produce large amounts of energy with less pollution than what traditional power plants would produce.
Over 87,500 acres of land in Maine's North Woods has been made a U.S. national monument by President Obama. Elliotsville Plantation Inc., a nonprofit foundation, donated the land to the federal government. For years the foundation and others have tried to have a national park in the North Woods, but there was not enough support in Congress to create a park. However, Obama has the power to designate national monuments so he designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The monument will protect the geology, significant biodiversity, and abundant wildlife.
National parks and national monuments are of huge importance to the world. National parks protect land, animals, and ecosystems that would be otherwise destroyed for profit. The parks and monuments preserve what the land would have been like all around the area it occupies if humans had not interfered and cut down forest so that we would benefit. The parks and monuments also protect species that would be otherwise extinct if there were not regulations to protect them. Natural parks and monuments remind us of the beauty of nature and why we should protect the land and the animals living on it.
As temperatures reach all time highs all over the west coast of the United States, Douglas firs are becoming heat and water stressed. The high temperatures remove water from the atmosphere and the soil. Due to the lack of water the trees close their stoma, which releases oxygen into the air. This also causes the trees to be less productive and not taking in as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
It is important for people to be informed about climate change, because it affects many factors of their life. The heat dries up water and causes trees to not produce oxygen, that we need to breath, this is important to everyone. The trees not being able to take in as much carbon dioxide as usually, and leaving more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is also something to worry about.