Saturday, November 13, 2010

A bit of ecology for your perusal. :) *CLIMATE CHANGE

Had an ecology midterm last week.  It's interesting stuff!  Read on!

Climate Change and Ohio:  The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Ecological Society of America (ESA) published a study in 2003 on the projected effects of climate change in and around the Great Lakes.  For the surrounding states they published fact sheets listing the projected state specific consequences of climate change.  According to the UCS and ESA, Ohio can expect a number of changes.  These include: (1)Warming: An increase in temperature of six or more degrees (Fahrenheit) for both winter and summer.  (2)Water supply:  declining lake levels, reduced groundwater recharge, pressure to share water supplies.  (3)Precipitation: drier summers, wetter winters, intense, prolonged rainstorms.  (4)Agriculture:  Flooding from severe storms, dry summer conditions, higher ozone concentrations, increased pests and pathogens, extreme heat and drought – lower productivity.  To “help reduce the potential impacts from climate change” the fact sheet for Ohio suggests policymakers, business leaders and citizens follow three ‘strategies’:  (1) “Reducing heat-trapping gas emissions” (2) “Minimizing pressures on the environment” and (3) “Preparing for those impacts from global warming that cannot be avoided.” 
One Strategy for Ohio:  One strategy urban Ohio may adopt in response to climate change is widespread local food production.  By localizing food sources Ohioans would reduce dependence on out of state food resources, increase food production and possibly improve environmental conditions in cities throughout the state.  By reducing the amount of food shipped to the state carbon emissions would be drastically lowered.  Planting gardens on rooftops, in window boxes, and on patches through cities, can reduce the impact of increased temperatures, absorb storm water and possibly waste water, and can serve as a tool for education and recreation.  Integrating organic only policies to reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff, providing incentives for sustainable management and establishment of more community supported agriculture programs will be both necessary and beneficial to the state.  Possible increases in biodiversity as a response to “greening” cities state wide may pose a risk initially, but with careful management those increases could provide more food (deer culling) and help other issues—with so much food production in cities farms wouldn’t require the same area and could be restored to woodlots or wetlands, riparian buffers could be increased and culverted streams daylighted and restored. 


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