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 Neil Stalter | Zoom Out Mycology
We here at Zoom Out Mycology are celebrating soil awareness month! With that in mind, we’re spending our Thanksgiving holidays giving thanks for everything that soil does for us. Soil is incredibly important to ecosystems around the world, but it is also fundamental to many industries that support our modern lifestyles. I certainly don’t often think about how turning on the lights in my apartment will affect soil. However- New York City, where I live, gets the vast majority of its energy (roughly 50%) from natural gas.(1)
By Neil Stalter | Zoom Out Mycology
What are cars going to look like in 20 years? Well, if you’ve watched “The Jetsons” you might think (like myself) that it’s high-time we start investing in hovercraft research. However, even I have to admit that this is far from reality. Right now – in 2017, we stand at a crucial moment in the transportation industry. Companies like Tesla, Nissan, and Chevrolet have made headlines for pioneering the electric vehicle crusade. Does that mean that in 20 years we’ll all be plugging in our cars when we get home? Will we even be driving our cars in 20 years, or will they just drive themselves? And what does this mean for the cleanliness of the air we breathe? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to all these questions (if I did, I’d be able to pay off my student loans pretty quick). But, there are trends and movements in markets, public opinion, and government policy that we can look to for guidance.
Zoom Out Mycology’s Environmental Awareness 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: email@example.com