Tag: environment

The Little Ice Age: Definition, History, Causes, and Ending of the Ice Age

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.

Arthropods 101: Insects, Evolution, Classes, and Examples of Arthropods

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.

Beyond Fuel: Petrochemical Products and Environmental Impacts

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.

Oceanic Forestry: Coral Farming and Biorocks

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.

Rewilding and Not So Wildlife

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.

How the Environment Responded to Covid-19

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.