by Neil Stalter | Zoom Out Mycology
Water is the most destructive force on the planet, causing billions of dollars in property damage and tens of thousands of casualties every year. Much of this is due to flooding is the major culprit in this destruction. Streets, homes, and businesses filling with water can shake the very foundation of a community, and it will never be the same. Consider for example, the flooding following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. To this day, communities (particularly poor and underprivileged areas) are still feeling the lingering effects of the flooding the storm left in its wake. (1) Puerto Rico, in a similar fashion, will continue to feel the effects of Hurricane Maria indefinitely; not the least of which the loss of life the storm and subsequent flooding caused. Unfortunately, the country and planet now face a growing problem that will increase the frequency and intensity of these flooding events: sea level rise.
by Alyssa Leavy | Zoom Out Mycology
How glaciers serve as our main defense against one of the largest releases of greenhouse gases in history.
Glaciers are an essential part of our planet’s landscape and climate. Although they seem remote, their presence is felt in every corner of the globe. Ten percent of land is covered with glacial ice, adding up to over 5.8 million square miles (NSIDC)(2). Glaciers contain so much water that if they were all to melt the sea level would rise 230 feet (NSIDC)(2). To put this in perspective, sea levels are expected to rise about 3 feet by 2070. Taking into account that many delta cities are concurrently losing their foundation sediment and our planet’s growing population, that 3 foot rise in sea level will put about 150 million people at risk of flooding in coastal areas (The World in 2050)(3). Another consideration is that as glaciers melt, we will also lose our fresh water reserve, since glaciers store about 75 percent of the world's fresh water (NSIDC)(2).
Glaciers also influence climate patterns and reflect the sun's rays, protecting against intensifying natural disasters and rising global temperatures. That’s enough for me to change my habits, but if you’re not convinced that we need to conserve these icy habitats, then read on!
Glaciers are integral to human survival in many ways and scientists are discovering another critical protection that dates back millions of years. As the Earth has cycled through warm and cold periods, organic matter has flourished, died and been encased in ice, unable to decompose. This makes glaciers one of the largest carbon sinks on the planet. If global warming trends continue, all of that organic carbon could be released as glaciers melt, spewing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. It’s a startling thought to say the least, but before we can understand the magnitude of this issue, we need a little history lesson on the holocene.
by Marena Gibson
Zoom Out Mycology implements different strategies in urban sustainability, with an ultimate goal of helping to fight climate change. We understand that humans are a part of the natural environment, rather than above or in control of it, and define sustainability as living in a way that doesn’t deplete natural resources--the destruction of which leads to a disruption in ecological balance.
ZOM uses several innovative and progressive approaches to tackle climate change:
In recent years, a coalition of the leading voices in the fight against climate change--composed of scholars, scientists, business leaders, activists, and more--have gathered to form a nonprofit organization, Project Drawdown. The mission of this organization is to research, develop, and present several solutions for climate change, but what sets them apart is that they’ve created a report to describe the global carbon reduction, monetary costs and savings, and societal impacts of these solutions in quantifiable numbers and statistics. They’ve actually ranked these solutions in order of the magnitude of their effect on carbon reduction.
Zoom Out Mycology’s Environmental Science blog strives to explain and expose environmental topics and concerns to a wide audience. We hope that this knowledge will help all of our readers embrace a healthy and sustainable lifestyle! If you are interested in being a guest contributor, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org