Protecting our natural heritage
15 August 2012 | Article
CEESP Member Antonio M Claparols provides this opinion piece for readers. As I write this the planet is being devastated by both droughts and floods. In the United States the worse droughts and heat waves have caused devastating effects on the land, agriculture and health of the people. Agricultural produce has declined as the weather takes their toll. The price of basic food such as corn, soybeans and wheat have increased as the demand out strips the supply. The heat wave and drought has reached temperatures of over 100 degrees Fare height thereby destroying the corn belt of the US.
The same case seems to be heading to Europe as the heat and drought spreads. In its wake many fall victims to the heat. Countries, cities and towns are affected. Life has not been the same since global warming and climate change seem to go unabated.
The business as usual attitude has ratified the certain death of our planet
On the other side of the planet, in Asia the floods and rains have continued to ravage the land. China and the rest of Asia are underwater. A repeat of what happened last year and the year before.
Why can't they see the difference? The changes in our climate, the rainfall, the heat and the many typhoons and calamities that continue to plague our planet.
Already the many Arab springs have gone for change and they will continue.
The voices of the rest of the world will be heard as Life as we know it will
change to the point that all of us are impacted.
Why do we always seem to wait for calamities to occur before we act? Have not we suffered enough? Have we not seen the devastating effects of floods and droughts? Of typhoons and Hurricanes? Of poverty and more poverty? Of peak oil and Food?
Sadly, the many dams built have stopped the sediment flow to the much needed mangrove forest, marshes and wetlands by nearly a third. And yet we continue to Dam our rivers.
Further wetland growth is expected to get a boost from carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, since plants use CO2 for Photosynthesis.
Sea grasses and mangrove are only among a handful of marine species that could benefit from higher carbon dioxide concentration.
Thirty percent of human induced CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. Carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater and produces carbonic acid. Acidification is en route to becoming one of humankinds most serious impacts on the sea. Scientist are suddenly waking up to the possibility that acidification in combination coral bleaching due to global warming will cause the destruction of coral reefs worldwide.
The new Dutch coastal protection plan calls for much soft engineering of
this kind even to the point of removing existing dikes and dams to promote
the restoration of estuarial habitats and tidal regimes.
Scientist forecast that the sea-level rises of up to twenty four inches predicted by the IPCC by this century's end will lead to the loss of another third of our coastal wetlands and would cause the worlds coral reefs to shift from a state of construction to erosion.
Given the growing value in ameliorating impacts of sea-level rises and their impacts make it essential for us to rethink our attitude toward wetlands and coral reefs.
Natures wrath will continue until we fully abate climate change,change our consumption patterns and stop the human destruction of our natural heritage.
It is essential for us to accept the fact that our present development model is the root cause of environmental destruction and that we need to change it. We must reduce our consumption patterns at par with those who live sustainable lives in the forest like our indigenous brothers and sisters. Equally important is for us to change our educational system to one that will include the new sustainable use model as well as protect and conserve our ecosystems that we know so little about and focused on social and ecological systems as the late Elinor Ostrom would advocate.
This is the only way to save our natural heritage.
Antonio M. Claparols,
Ecological Society of the Philippines