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Thanks to deforestation, humans have been affecting climates on a local scale for thousands of years. Many people are dimly aware that much of the Middle East and Mediterranean regions were once forested thanks to vague memories of terms such as the "Fertile Crescent" and the "Cedars of Lebanon" from high school history classes. One of the earliest surviving pieces of written literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh, describes the battle of Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, with the forest god Humbaba, protector of the magnificent groves of cedars that covered the mountains nearby. The victorious king chops down the cedars to build monuments to himself.
Deforestation is one of the most urgent environmental problems today, because it affects both human and environmental health in surprising ways. In America, trees are popular for their shade and natural beauty, as well as the many products they provide to humans, including wood and pulp products. In many other areas, the presence, or lack thereof, of trees can literally be a life or death situation. Many countries are still dependant mainly on wood to provide cooking fires for their citizens. In some countries, women (mainly) must travel hours every day to find enough wood to cook a single meal - hours that they can not spend raising food, running a family business, or educating themselves or their children.
As the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster continues to spread, the lives of millions of sea creatures is being taken at the same time the livelihoods of thousands of people in the fishing and hospitality industry is being destroyed. The images emerging from the disaster seem to grow more horrifying every day. Many want to help, but unlike primarily human disasters, such as the Haiti earthquake, the organizations working to clean up the Gulf are for the most part not as well known as organizations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. This can lead to feelings of helplessness and uncertainty among would-be donors and volunteers, and impact the speed and effectiveness of the disaster response. This hub is a guide for people who want to help, but are unsure where to begin.
As for you, my flock... Is it not enough for you to feed on good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Ezekiel 34:17-18.
Many traditional rainforest cultures have used "slash and burn" agriculture to clear the forest. A small area is logged and the remaining brush and fallen branches are burned. The fire not only clears the area, it also adds nutrients to the poor soil of the rainforest. The farmer plants crops for a few years, until the soil is depleted, and then moves on to start the process all over again. The surrounding forest would reclaim the land, and after a few decades of recovery, it might be used again in the same way.
Here are some ways you can help rewild America: Educate Yourself and Get Active Though rewilding is international in scope, it will only be effective if it is also practiced at the local level. By educating yourself about native plant and animal species and local conservation issues and becoming an advocate for conservation issues in your area, you are already making a huge contribution to the rewilding movement. Conserve and Restore Wildlife Habitat at Your Home
As a girl growing up in rural Nebraska, practically everyone I knew was a hunter. The vast majority of hunters I've ever known have been responsible people with a genuine love for nature and respect for hunting ethics and the honor of the chase. Hunters such as Teddy Roosevelt were the world's first conservationists, and the conservation work of hunters continues to this day with great success in many regions. However, people in groups are greater than the sum of their parts, and no matter how ethical and responsible most individual hunters are, in this article I'm going to argue that hunters as a group generally do more harm than good to the very ecosystems they claim to love and protect. What I'm Not Going To Talk About
Changes in runoff could in turn cause a decline in salmon populations , which are already under stress due to a combination of factors including water pollution, habitat destruction, and over-fishing. Increased winter stream flows can scour streambeds, damaging nests and washing away eggs, while earlier peak streamflows can wash immature salmon out to sea before they are physically ready to make the transition. Additionally, warmer air temperatures raise water temperatures, degrading stream and ocean habitat for salmon and other cold water fish and benefiting pests and diseases that flourish in warmer water. Salmon populations have already declined by more than 90% in the Columbia River basin and are expected to decline even further as up to 1/3 of their current habitat becomes too warm for this coldwater fish to thrive. Another concern related to increased winter precipitation and stream flow is increased risk of erosion and landslides.
Unfortunately, this increase in temperature is expected to be larger in the summer than the winter. For example, some scientists estimate that Nebraska's average summer temperatures could increase 6° F by 2050, but only 4° F in winter. In the worst case scenario, neighboring Kansas could expect to see 120 days per year with temperatures over 90° F, with temperatures of 122° F not unheard of.
In 1517, Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 arguments against the Catholic Church's use of papal indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Indulgences were (and are) used by the Church to raise money. They were supposed to grant forgiveness for sins, but by Luther's time, they had been abused by professional "pardoners" seeking to relieve the faithful of more and more of their money to the point that even Pope Boniface IX, more than a century before Luther, had condemned some practices associated with their sale. Unfortunately, Boniface was unable to stop them, and the resulting divide ended up splitting the Catholic Church.
2 wedges of forest restoration and conservation As discussed above, deforestation has far-reaching consequences that go well beyond simple climate change. One of the most vital tasks of the next 100 years will be the conservation and restoration of the world's forest ecosystems.
For example, a study comparing six varieties of wild red rice (an ancestor of the cultivated crop) with six varieties of cultivated rice determined that the red rice, already considered a weed in cultivated rice fields, substantially outperformed the cultivated rice in trials with elevated CO2 levels . Crop losses aren't the only problem the exuberant response of weeds to increased CO2 levels is likely to cause. Studies have found, for example, that:
In addition to the effects on road safety described above, light pollution affects human health in other ways. Over-illumination both during the way and at night has been shown to lead to increased headaches and anxiety levels, higher levels of worker fatigue and stress, insomnia, and decreased sexual functioning. Night-time exposure to light reduces the body's natural production of melatonin, an important hormone that helps regulate the immune system and serves as an antioxidant, among other functions. Reduced melatonin levels are believed to be responsible for unusually high rates of cancer in night workers, and women exposed to light at night through bright master bathroom nightlights or similar have increased rates of breast cancer. Unusually low levels of melatonin have also been observed in individuals with autism, though the exact causes and effects of this correlation are unknown at this time.
Although the effect of human activities on the carbon cycle is better known, the effect of human activities on the nitrogen cycle has been even more dramatic. The human race's use (and abuse) of the nitrogen cycle has been one of the most beneficial for our own species for many years. Every year, humans convert 120 million tons of nitrogen from the atmosphere into reactive forms such as nitrates, mainly in the production of nitrogen-based fertilizer for crops.