Pioneer Press writer Chris Niskanen accesses his view on Minnesota’s natural resources on “Having watched Minnesota’s natural resources decline during my lifetime and watched our financial commitments to fix the problem wither, I’m convinced this amendment is the best chance to maintain what we have and take incremental steps toward improvement. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve traveled many times to every corner of the state and invariably I talk to outdoors people who worry that the ducks, songbirds, prairies, clean lakes and rivers won’t be as abundant for their children.” This man makes a very good point. As a sophomore, I am worried that, in the future, my children might not be able to go to a state park and see massive glaciers, bald eagles, buffalo, or smell the wild flowers.
Throughout history mankind has been able to adapt the environment to fit our needs, but very recently we have begun to ask ourselves, “What happens next?” What will happen when we push past the edge of the cliff and there are not enough resources to sustain our ever-growing population.
We have already begun to see the ugly face of over population in many disturbing ways, such as its effect on global warming and the dwindle of natural resources.
According to Oxford American Dictionary, Global warming is described as the increase in the overall temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere due to the Green House Effect caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants. Carbon dioxide has always been in our atmosphere, but was kept at a delicate percentage in balance with oxygen, nitrogen, and other chemicals. With the increased burning of fossil fuels caused by population increase, that delicate percentage has increased and caused the Green House Effect. The Green House Effect causes the trapping of inferred radiation in our atmosphere. By keeping that inferred in our atmosphere, the Earth has begun to radically heat, causing our Polar Ice Caps to decrease in size. The Earth is heating and the atmosphere is warmer the annual snowfall at the Poles has greatly been reduced causing less ice build up on the glacier, and also because there is less ice built up in one Winter in the melting season now lasts longer; the Polar Caps are decreasing in size and breaking off at alarmingly high rates. Three percent of the Earth’s water is fresh water, two percent is in the glaciers, point seven percent is in the lakes, and point three percent lies underground. To me those do not sound like very good percentages with increasing population more and more people will need fresh water for drinking.
Drinkable water is not the only resource that is in jeopardy, as the human population increases, so does the amount of polluted water for marine life. Our air, oceans, and soil have long ago reached their delicate tipping point. Pollution affects our wildlife with an increase in the number of endangered and extinct species. “What’s a few weird animals gone?” some say. The truth is that life is linked, it’s woven into the very health of our planet. Take, for example, the fact that many fish species and marine life need a very specific water temperature. Increase or decrease that water temperature by a few degrees both way and entire species of plants and animals die out. When a species dies out, it affects the entire food chain. Many people wouldn’t raise an eyebrow until it hits them in the wallet and causes a spike in the price of their favorite fresh fish.
There are many possibilities for the future, some disturbing, but some also give me hope. Awareness is the first step. I think the more we educate ourselves, the more we find ways to help our most critical and damaged areas of the containing Earth’s most precious resources. The Green House Effect is nothing new. It’s not a new term when talking about ways to save our planet. As we move forward in advances in education and technology we are committed to search for new and innovative ways to replenish natural resources once taken for granted and stripped from our fragile world.
Some day maybe the human race will finally make changes in the way we live today to live life better tomorrow.
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