Trees figure into the stories and symbols of religions across the world. In Norse mythology the ash tree Yggdrasil connects and supports the nine realms. Drawing from this and other traditions, various neopagan movements value, among other things, environmentalism for both secular and spiritual reasons. As for North America, trees and other plants are central to the Medicine practices of several tribes. The cedar tree even appears on the Medicine Wheel important to certain sacred rites, with the associated cardinal direction of the tree varying between different tribes. Cedar also figures into the religion of ancient Mesopotamia, forests of cedar being where their gods dwelled. That trees play a part in these and many other belief systems suggests that they have a fundamental appeal. In addition to being common components of many natural landscapes, trees are tall, sometimes imposing, and occasionally majestic. That people would attach and associate the reverence they feel toward religious subjects to these statuesque plants makes a lot of sense. In the past and up to the present, several religions have struck upon the same idea before encountering one another, the idea of a world tree. World trees are a type of axis mundi (world axis), a sort of pillar that conjoins or bridges the material and the spiritual. Yggdrasil is one example of this, and there are others as well. Beyond ashes and cedars, there are many other trees with sacred heritages. Notable among these are two varieties of fig.
Earth has experienced at least five Ice Ages: the Huronian, the Cryogenian, the Andean-Saharan, the Karoo, and the Quaternary. The latest of these is the Quaternary Ice Age, which began 2.6 million years ago and is still ongoing. That might sound off given that the popular conception of an ice age is of a world blanketed in snow and roaming with wooly mammoths, but the scientific definition only requires that a substantial ice sheet be present on the Earth’s surface, and Antarctica fits the bill. While their causes vary, ice ages are typified by periods of sustained global cooling and glacial expansion. Going by this, the Little Ice Age qualifies, though it is also an ice age within an ice age, making it a sort of matryoshka doll climate event. The Little Ice Age is not the only lesser ice age, though it is the best known as it occurred the most recently and within recorded history. After having touched on similarities, our next logical step is to examine what makes the Little Ice Age different.
Making up around 75% of all animal species in the world, arthropods are are a vast phylum of the kingdom Animalia. The name comes from the Greek words “arthro”, meaning joint, and “podos”, meaning legs. While they all share segmented bodies with joined legs, members in this phylum vary wildly, from butterflies and millipedes, to scorpions and lobsters. They are also all invertebrates, which means that they do not have backbones. Instead, they use hard exoskeletons to protect themselves, which are made out of chitin. Because these exoskeletons are relatively inflexible, arthropods molt as they grow larger, which means they shed their exoskeletons.
Acid Deposition (commonly known as Acid Rain) means precipitation that has acidic components, i.e. an unusually low pH level (4.2~4.4). Acid rain is a term coined in 1852 by Robert Angus Smith, a Scottish scientist who conducted rainwater experiments in industrial regions throughout Scotland and England.
Petroleum (or oil) and natural gas are widely used sources of fuel. Around the world many transportation, energy, and heating infrastructures depend in large part on one or both of these hydrocarbon-rich fuels, petrochemical products. While in the past it may have seemed inconceivable that people would have to step away from fossil fuels, climate change increasingly necessitates greener alternatives. It is also hard to imagine life without plastics. For many applications, such as in healthcare, there may be no better materials. A future with zero plastic is neither warranted nor desirable, but the threats to various ecosystems are likely to force the development of greener and more sustainable materials.
Climate change affects the entirety of the earth’s surface, and nowhere more so than our oceans. While our seas cover about two-thirds of the earth’s surface they absorb over ninety percent of the additional heat attributable to global warming. Both land masses and bodies of water absorb and reflect solar radiation that rebounds off of the greenhouse gases trapped in our atmosphere, but the latter is generally more absorptive and holds on to heat longer due to differences in physical properties. This of course has led to increases in global seawater temperatures, which has and continues to endanger several aquatic species. This article will examine one of those species and go over human efforts to preserve it.
The basics of rewilding (at least in North America) are the Three C’s: Cores, Corridors, and Carnivores. Rewilding was developed in the 1990’s as a new approach to ecological restoration. Proponents have characterized it as being active rather than reactive. What this means is that instead of viewing conservation as stemming a tide or becoming shepherds to ever-declining animal populations, rewilding is focused on restoring the equilibrium of ecological systems. This is accomplished through a variety of methods that are grouped together under the Three C’s.
The coronavirus pandemic may seem like one of the worst things that could be happening to the world right now. And although that might be the case for us, the environment is finally getting the break from human activity that it’s been longing for. With businesses shut down, traveling banned, and everyone in lockdown, traffic and pollution have been significantly reduced and it’s had some notable effects on nature. So while you’re stuck being quarantined, here are some cool things happening around the world as a result.
Is my athletic active wear harming the environment? Learn more about athleisure’s impact on the environment and sustainability.
Polar bears, Siberian tigers, our friendly neighborhood bees – what do they all have in common? That’s right. They’re all endangered species!
What is sometimes informally referred to as the endangered species list is actually called the Red List of Threatened Species.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to adapt to a completely new lifestyle in quarantine. However, another species – our friendly neighborhood citrus trees that have gone mainly unnoticed – has been experiencing this same dilemma for decades but for a completely different disease: The Citrus Greening Disease.
Are carbon emissions (carbon dioxide) good or bad for our environment? In this lesson, we will explore why carbon emissions are good and why carbon emissions are bad.