Sustainability Problems in the Himalayas
Himalayas are mountain ranges in Asia that comprise of 30 mountains and 9 out of 10 of highest peaks in the world (Himalaya, 2001). The Himalayan ranges cover an area of 612, 021sq km and passes through the nations of India, Pakistan, China, Bhutan and Nepal. The Himalayas forms one of the world most important and unique ecosystems. These ranges are renowned for rich and diverse flora and fauna, dense rain forests, large glaciers, placid lake and untamed rivers (Baker, 2010).
It also controls the weather pattern of the surrounding areas and form origin of river systems including two important river systems; the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin and Indus basin. Himalayas also form an important cultural resource for community living in and around this ecosystem. Over thousands of years indigenous communities in the Himalayas have developed a peaceful coexistence with the natural forces prevailing in this ecosystem through their ways of lives which were compatible to the ecosystem. However, the coming of the era of industrialization and modernization has threatened this peaceful coexistence between the communities and the Himalayan ecosystem.
Rapid increase in human population and need for economic development has led to sustainability challenges in the Himalayas. Recent times have seen human population living in the Himalaya ecosystem rapidly expand and to respond to these need various economic developments were initiated. Food production, timber harvesting, cash crop production and tourism were some of the economic activities that were introduced in order to improve the livelihoods of communities.
However, introduction of these activities did not put into consideration their sustainability aspects leading to the establishment of a sustainability problem. Though these activities were aimed at providing benefits to the local communities, they have turned out to be potential threats to the existence of the rich biodiversity of the Himalayas.
The human population inhabiting the Himalayan region has rapidly expanded over the years. Currently over 40 million people inhabit the Himalayas region (Himalaya 2001). This phenomenon has led to increased demand for natural resources such as water, food and building materials leading to overexploitation of such resources. Increased population has also led to increased demand for land leading to further encroachment into the Himalayan ecosystem.
One visible effect caused by this increase in human population is deforestation. Forests in the Himalayas are being cut down unscrupulously in order to meet demand for fuel and building materials for the expanding human population (Roy, 2008). Many communities living in the Himalayan region still depend on fire wood for fuel and in almost all their entire energy needs. Demand for food and space has also contributed to deforestation as people are cutting down tree in order to gain access to more land for growing food crops. The communities’ style of cultivation has also aggravated the deforestation problem.
This people cultivate a piece of land for several consecutive years until it losses its fertility and then they move on to clear another new patch of forest land. This negative farming system has led loss of thousands of hectors of native forest in the Himalayan ecosystem. Loss of forest cover as a result of deforestation has led to rippling adverse effects such as soil erosion, silting and drying of rivers and changing climatic patterns for the surrounding areas.
Another problem caused by the increased human population in the Himalayan ecosystem is pollution. Increased human activities such as farming in the Himalayan ecosystem have led to pollution (Spaltenberger, 2007). The once clear waters of Himalayan rivers and lake are now polluted with silt and chemicals from farm lands located with the Himalayas.
In the effort to meet their basic needs and to earn a living the Himalayan communities have established small cottage industry within the lower levels of the Himalayan ranges which also contribute to pollution of the Himalayan ecosystem. The rapid increase in population has made the Himalayan communities to move away from traditional land use that were compatible to the environment such as herding to environmentally incompatible land use such as cultivation and logging.
Changes in economic systems have also presented threats to the existence of the Himalayan ecosystem. New economic systems have brought about projects that have compromised the sanctity of the Himalayan environment. Huge chunks of the mountain ranges are being blown off and tracks of forest land cleared to give way for the construction of roads (Himalaya, 2001). Intricate networks of roads have been built through the mountain areas not only degrading the environment through their construction but also making the interior parts of the Himalayas easily accessible for development of other human activities.
The constructed roads have opened up the remote parts for Himalayas ranges making them accessible to various forms of economic activities. One economic activity that is now thriving in the Himalayas is tourism (Spaltenberger, 2007). Millions of tourists visit the Himalayas mountain region to experience the unique atmosphere provided by the natural and physical landscape of the area. Though it generates revenues to the communities and investors, tourism also presents some ecological challenges in the areas.
One of them involves littering of the environment. Tons of garbage and refuse are usually left behind by tourist on adventure and expeditions. This not only degrade the scenic beauty but also posses a threat to wild animals and plant species. Tourists also interfere with the flora and fauna species in the ecosystem by trampling on plants and disturbing the animals’ ways of life. Tourist vehicles also cause air pollution from exhaust fumes and effluent from tourism establishment find way into rivers and streams. Not only has tourism affected the ecology of Himalayas but it has also affected the cultures of the local communities through culture erosion and demonstration effect.
Economic drive have also seen the Himalayas region being opened up for cash crop production particularly tea. Large trucks of the native Himalayan forests and other indigenous vegetation have been cleared to allow room for tea production. Currently two countries sharing the Himalayas ranges, India and China, are the world largest tea producers (Roy, 2008). Tea production in these countries especially in India is concentrated in the Himalayan ecosystem. This has had negative environment effects including pollution and deforestations.
Another popular economic driver in the Himalayan ecosystem that has proved to be detrimental to the environment is timber harvesting (Roy, 2008). Trees are cuts down at the foot of the Himalayan ranges in order to meet the demand for timber and to earn profits through the sale of timber and timber products. Harvesting of timber in the Himalayas increases year in year out in order to meet local and international demand for timber.
The above economic and social development activities present a sustainability challenge for the Himalaya ecosystem. Sustainable economic development should be able to ensure long term benefits for the community. However, the above discussed activities seem to threaten the existence of the same resources that sustain them.
By tea production, timber harvesting and tourism causing deforestation in the Himalaya they put the future of these industry in jeopardy and hence their approach is not sustainable. These economic developments are not only referred to as unsustainable because of threatening the ecological aspect of the Himalayas but for also interfering with the unique culture that existed prior to the onset of these developments.
To manage and reverse this situation, a lot needs to be done. First of all policies need to be put in place that will ensure further development of these economic activities is monitored so as it does not cause more harm to the ecosystem. There also need to be a shift in economic development policies. Instead of encouraging economic activities that are incompatible to the environment, more environmental activities need to be established.
A good example is embracing the concept of ecotourism instead of the existing concept of mass tourism. Tea and food production should also be restricted to the areas currently underproduction and further clearing of the forest halted. New sources of energy and timber should be established instead of relying on the natural forest from the Himalayas for the entire energy requirements of the community. If this recommendation are put in place the Indians, Tibet, Nepali and other Himalayan communities will be able to enjoy significant and long term economic benefits that will run down to future generations. The tea factories, tourism establishments and timber processors also stand to benefit from the implementation of these recommendations.
Anonymous (2001), Himalaya, retrieved on February 8, 2011, from http://www.uttaranchal.ws/him.htm
Baker (2010), Cultural Ecology in Action, retrieved on February 7, 2011, from http://www.himalayanconsensus.org/articles/cultural-ecology-in-action
Roy (2008), Demography of Darjeeling Hills, retrieved February 8, 2011, from http://beacononline.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/demography-of-darjeeling-hills/
Roy (2008), India: Largest Tea Producer and Consumer, retrieved on February 8, 2011, from http://beacononline.wordpress.com/2008/03/15/india-largest-tea-producer-and-consumer/
Spaltenberger (2007), Tourism in the Himalayas, retrieved on February 8, 2011, from http://www.spaltenberger.de/usa/himalayantourism.pdf
Ecocritism is the representation of the world and nature. Hans Bertens traces ecocritism history with an attempt to examine the real sense which ecocritism brings forth. The real is brought in a concrete way through ecocritism theory. The main stream of ecocritism is the predicted return of the real through various scientific data. This may be true to some extend because when one views the definition of ecocritism from a narrow point of view, it limits the field from its potential of examining and emphasizing other ways of gaining knowledge of various environmental issue.
These environmental aspects include experimental, material and embodied knowledge. The cortical discourse is informed by science which accompanies other theoretical thought and discursive forms. Creativity, culture and the environment is a clear demonstration of such practice of critical (Bertens, 2007, pp 156). Based on various studies on ecocritism including that of Han Bertens, we get the conception of preferentiality seen in the study of ecocritism theory. This is because it does not encompass everything with in the new scientific field but instead the capacity of ecocritism for activism in environmental issues.
Science does not encompass the central place in ecocritism filed but rather the scientific work in collaboration with other critical modes of bringing about the relationship between the natural environment and the people. Hans essay on ecocritism therefore brings the focus of the interplay of writings, essays, poetics, ethics, ecology, philosophy, environments and imagination.
Hans gives the examples of films which have incorporated all these aspects such as the film the Lord of The Rings by Tolkien and the Two Towers film by Peter Jackson. These are epic narratives which incorporate epic creatures with rumbling voices and have gigantic structure. Their voices remind us of the wind sounds in trees during the autumn season. Basically ecocritism is like a dichotomized thinking, a disassembling disciplinary which emphasizes repeatedly on ethics with a clear suggestion of forming a new environmental criticism. The new environmental thinking is the need for developing and articulating model of critical integration as a way of activism in the environment.
Creativity, culture and the environment wholly proposes that environmental activism begins with the realization that there is a need to turn our ethics towards environmental criticism which incorporates aspects of creativity and imagination in writing especially in fields like humanities and Arts. Bertens essay calls for the development of ecocritical models which should extend to influence the wider scope in environmental concerns.
The human moral concerns according to Bertens are determined and self evident through the evident of nature. This is especially seen in the imaginative works like paintings, films poems and novels. Nature plays an important role in all aspects right from aesthetic concerns, awesomeness, and beauty and presents an intimidating gentleness. These characteristics of nature are the total opposite of the characteristics of human beings (Bertens, 2002, pp196) for example the natures gracious states in religious terms symbolized the fallen state of human beings.
Bertens message therefore is that man should act as stewards of the environment according to Gods word. Stewardship practices encompasses both cultural aspects, ecological sources such a political agenda towards exorcism morals and environmental knowledge. Ecocritism should therefore incorporate the needed models in cultural and contemporary studies by including other scientific aspects in line with environmental issues.
Bertens H (2007) Literary Theory: The Basics, Publisher Taylor & Francis,
One of the key issues that is central to anthropological sustainability is innovation. Innovation means something that is new or that which is introduced in a different way. Innovation involves combining the old and the new so as to make the old better. With this, the people improve on their systems and thus achieve sustainability. According to Stone (2003), anthropologists have studied the ability of people to be innovative and adopt to their new strategies and found out that innovation brings change and further success.
An example to show innovation is given of the Kofyar of Nigeria. They innovatively changed from generation to the other in agriculture and this included crop choice, and balancing between cash and subsistence crops. With these innovations, the Kofyar were sustained in a better way than many other farmers in the African setting.
Innovation therefore means that people implement the ideas that they generate. Innovation comes after creativity since creativity is the generation of new ideas. For instance, the Kofyar people had the idea of changing their agricultural ways.
However, innovation only came in implementing and thus they improved on their agriculture. Other than innovation improving on the specific task, it also improves the general well being of human beings. There are times when innovation can occur incidentally. This is where one gets something that they never intended or that they did not know could be the outcome. Through innovation, different people get sustainability and thus achieve success in their places whether it is in the workplace or even school.
Stone, M.P. (2003). Human organization: Is Sustainability for Development Anthropologists? 62 (2)
Global warming is the increase in the world global temperature of the years. Since 1950 the temperature of the earth has gradually increased by 6 degree Celsius and this trend is still looking up (Global warming.com, 2010). Global warming has been attributed to one major cause; the rise of green house gases in the atmosphere.
Green house gases are such as Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, Nitrous oxide and Fluorocarbons (Hopwood and Cohen, 2004). The green house gases blanket heat radiations from the sun causing the earth temperature to be 33 degree warmer than it would be without the gases (Ibid). This is what is referred to as “the green gas effect.” The increase in these green house gases is largely attributed to human activities. Use of fossil fuel is one of the human activities that have contributed to global warming. People around the world use fossil fuel to power there transport systems, to generate power for industries and home consumption.
Combustion of fossil fuel releases gaseous byproducts such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. CO2 forms the largest proportion of green house gases in the atmosphere forming about 76% of all green house gases (Hopwood and Cohen, 2004). Another human activity that has led to the increase in green house gases, particularly CO2, in the atmosphere is deforestation. Fossil fuels such coal also releases environmentally hazardous byproducts such as Mercury.
Mercury is harmful products as it builds up inside the body of organism causing severe effects in the long term (Energy Business, 2009). Trees inhale CO2 and gives out Oxygen (O2) in exchange. Increased human population has led to increased demand for natural resources such as timber leading to depletion of such resources. Decreasing forest resources means that not much CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere hence most of this gas remains in the atmosphere and thus causing the rise in global temperature.
The global warming phenomenon has many effects on earth and organisms that live on it. One major effect of the rise in the global temperature is the melting down of the glaciers and icecaps. Evidence shows that the world largest icecaps, Antarctica and Greenland, have decreased in size over the years due to this rise in global temperature (Derek, 2009). Major implications of these melting glaciers is displacement of people as rising ocean water take away land and swallow up beaches. Concentration of green house gases has got other effects apart from global warming. For example the Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen oxide gases in the atmosphere are absorbed by rain water resulting in acidic rains. These kinds of rains cause pollution and environmental degradation such as retarded growth of tree among other effects.
One Possible solution toward mitigating the impacts of global warming is the reduction in the production of green house gases. Measures that can be put in place to reduce green house gases include; adoption of clean energy technology and regulation of production of fossil fuel (Kyoto Treaty, 2010). People and country may adopt use of clean energy source such as hydro, solar and nuclear power.
People may also adopt a green culture where they conserve energy through changing habits. Governments could also provide incentives for companies to reduce green house gases emission and adopt use of environmentally friendly technologies. Another possible solution that could mitigate the impact of global warming is embarking on massive forestation. When tree density on the earth’s surface is improved the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be drastically cut down as the tree will absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Energy Business (2009), Mercury’s Effect on the Environment, retrieved on December 13, 2010, from http://energybusinessdaily.com/renewables/mercury%E2%80%99s-effect-on-the-environment/
Global warming.com (2010), Statistics of the Global Warming Trend, retrieved on December 13, 2010, from Http://globalwarming.com
Hopwood and Cohen (2004), Green House Gases and Society, retrieved on December 13, 2010, from Http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/greenhouse.htm
Kyoto Treaty, 2010 the solution to global warming, retrieved on December 13, 2010, from http://krath.dk/writing/globalwarming/kyototreaty/
Pollution can be defined as a process through which contaminants are introduced into the natural environment. Pollution may be divided into three major classifications-the pollution of air, water and land. More often than not the introduced contaminants bring about harm, disorder and instability within the ecosystem and in many cases cause discomfort or harm to animals and plants life. A large portion of pollution occurs through substances of a chemical nature or energy release such as heat, noise or light. Thus pollutants include energy forms or foreign substances. At times some of these pollutants may occur in nature, and they are not considered as such when they occur within normal levels of nature, however; as they exceed their natural levels they are taken to be pollutants.
Pollution has been a problem associated with most urbanized set ups as well as the processes of industrialization and agriculture. Therefore, it is usually more localized and intense in areas with such undertakings. Annual report releases by the Blacksmith Institute indicates that China, India, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Peru and Zambia are the top most polluted zones in the world. The report however specifically indicates that China is the worst of them all because of its high rate of industrialization. The problem has been blamed for the high rate of diseases caused by pollution such as cancer and respiratory disorders. The water bodies have been destroyed and the marine life put to danger. Droughts and drought-like conditions are on the rise and thus making the Chinese case of pollution appear grim.
The issue of concern for this research is neglect portrayed by the government of China in its quest for economic power and attainment of greater industrialization. Through the report we explore questions such us: What are the main causes and effects of pollution in China? Has the Chinese government comprehensively handled the problem via legislation and mitigation steps? Finally, an exploration of positive recommendations on what should be done is made.
The Chinese government has in the past greatly neglected the impact of its economic quest and rapid industrialization, and thus led to a greatly polluted environment. In the recent past there has been a renewed effort aimed at curbing the problem to legislative steps and the initiation of steps to mitigate the effect. Despite the efforts the impact is still growing, as cited in a Chinese government report. The survey on 78 counties and 30 cities by the Chinese ministry of health showed that cancer had become the number one killer, seconded by cerebrovascular diseases amongst other ten deadly diseases related to pollution (Xie, 2).
This problem coupled by climatic changes that have seen the Gobi desert considerably growing (3600 kilometer squared each new year) and reports by the Times Magazine as well as the Blacksmith Institute, hint at the possibility that not enough has been done. Thus posing questions as to where the government has failed and what more should be done to reduce the problem.
Literature review/ research rationale
China’s Gobi desert has taken up an estimated 1400 square miles per year from areas originally covered by grasslands. This has led to the regular occurrences of dust storms which were actually very rare in the past. The dust storms not only create discomfort, but they have proven to be a threat to the agricultural industry in China. The climatic changes have also led to recent drought cases and flooding which have all affected the sector of agriculture in a negative way. Analysis reports made in 2007 by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency indicate that the Chinese economy causes carbon emission that greatly surpasses the United States’ levels of emission.
The report stated that China emits an approximated 6200 million tones, while on the other hand the United States emits an estimated 5800 million tones (Jan, 27). The data presented in this report was gotten from an analysis conducted on the two countries’ level of fossil fuel use and this included an analysis of plants powered by coal as well as information from the manufacture of cement. The high levels of pollution reported from such bodies imply that the great growth of China’s economy may be behind the problem of increased pollution. The problem has caused potentially disastrous happenings such as the retreat of glaciers and the rise of the water bodies such as seas in level (Rooij, 58) Linfen and Tianying have been cited by the Times Magazine as the cities with the highest levels of pollution on the globe. The indication implies that china is indeed the most polluted nation at the moment considering that it is still adding more industrial growth. As a result, there is a great need for controls and measures to reduce the effect of pollution.
Despite the recent measures taken to increase of forest cover and increase in investment on sewage and garbage treatment schemes, there are still clear indications of little gains. This is portrayed by the China’s Health Ministry’s report that cancer still leads in killing the Chinese populace in 78 counties and cities (Xie, 1). According to the European Nation a meager 1% of the Chinese population is estimated to breathe air thought to be safe. The situation is serious and it requires greater measures because the problem is threatening to greatly destroy agriculture, the environment and the health of the Chinese populace.
Objectives and Goals
The research objectives include determination of effects and consequences of pollution in China as well as the measures undertaken to reduce the problem and its spread. This shall also include determining the adequacy of the measures and making recommendations for any improvement if deemed necessary. The establishment of better measures and steps constitute the research’s main goal.
Methodology of research
The research methodology applied a two pronged approach, where firstly; the research focused on the use of primary research sources within the libraries. Then data and statistical figures of importance were gathered. Thereafter, a questionnaire was applied as a means of getting interview answers from primary sources constituting of professionals. The administration of questionnaires was adopted as an alternative to the earlier opted direct interviews, because it proved challenging to obtain time and fix interview sessions. Thereafter, the information gathered was analyzed and the findings presented with possible commentaries and recommendations.
Findings and Results
World wide air particulate levels as mapped out from space indicate that China has the highest global air particulate levels. According to a map produced by Canadian scientists Arron and Randall, the National Space Administration and Aeronautics data implies that China’s air space is the most polluted. This further proves the European Union’s assertion that approximately 1% of China has breathing air deemed fit. The derivations on particulate matter are based on assessments in 2001 to 2006.
However, it is been noted in the Wall Street Journal during July that the situation is indeed worsening. Other ratings on pollution reports established by bodies such as the Blacksmith Institute, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and the Times Magazine all show that China is the moat polluted state at the moment. The changes in climate such the encroachment of deserts such as Gobi (at 3600 kilometer squared per year), and the high occurrences of droughts and dust storms indicate that indeed China’s climate is changing (Zhongguo, 45). Xinhua’s investigative task on cancer deaths indicated that in most Chinese provinces people were still dying of cancer more than other diseases.
Shangba a Guangdong village recorded a high of 250 deaths since 1990 to 2005, whereas Huangmengying recorded more than114 deaths due to cancer in the same period (Xie, 1). This affirms the Ministry of health’s assertion that cancer is indeed growing as a killer disease. Based on a research conducted by the Fishery administration in Guangdong the estuary on Pearl River, Zhanjiang port, and other areas in over 13 coastal towns had been declared seriously polluted (Hong, 1).
A sample of questionnaires that were received had an average of five questions that were administered to professionals via online correspondence. The professionals sampled included health professionals, environmentalists and agriculturists that professional knowledge in their fields. The questions had closed end questions based on the likert scale responses that is meant to gauge whether they agree with certain statements of disagree. The answers were then coded and averages determined on five point scale.
The results on most of the questionnaires indicated a higher level of disagreeing, and because they were meant to measure whether people agree with China’s position. A large number disagreed showing the nation had not taken appropriate or sufficient measures. Thus it was determined that professionals believe the nation had not done enough on environmental care and thus more should be done.
On a positive note China stands currently as the leading investor into clean technology and renewable energy as per the year 2009. As a member of the Stockholm convention China is also trying to phase out some harmful pesticides listed under the convention as well as their import and manufacture. The implementation of two-cycle engines in most vehicles is also seen as a greater step towards reducing particulate pollution from vehicle emissions that are high due to the high population of vehicles. This coupled with China’s 2000 ban on leaded gas have served to reduce the extent of pollution.
According to the World Bank, China has greatly increased the forest cover of as a measure to help mitigate the effects of pollution (Rooij, 61) However, it has failed on some measures such setting standardized modes and means of measuring to sample for pollution levels. As a result detection levels on pollution are low and they cannot be properly determined for regulatory measures to be set. This has greatly failed compliance monitoring and subsequent regulation, and as such polluting industrialists still take advantage.
Recommendations and conclusion
China can be said to be the worst polluted nation and this is implied by all environmental and health reports that point to the great losses in life and agriculture that are witnessed. There measures that have been put in place, but for the moment this report research has established that either the measures are not sufficient or their fruits have not been realized.
The fact that the state is not taking enough control and regulatory measures may be the biggest contributor to the problem. The nation is thus supposed to measure and set regulations for emissions from any industrial set ups. The firms that are found to exceed the set limits should either be banned if fined and the ones contribute to pollution through optimally should be made to offer funds for projects aimed at making the environment better-such as planting trees and increasing the forest cover.
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How trees can mitigate pollution and save energy
Vegetation and trees can help in reducing heat effect in urban island because they provide cooling effect in the air through evaporation (Akbai, 2001). The trees also help intercepting solar radiation and shed building. Trees reduce the evaporation of gases produced by vehicles and various form of oil storage through cooling. Offices and homes are also cooled downed by trees. The general cooling of trees assists in speeding the chemical reaction which leads to the formation of particulate matter and the formation of the ozone layer. The quality of air is improved by vegetations and trees and at the same time provides an aesthetic and amenity benefits such as beauty and shed in the environment.
Planting tree is strategic areas reduces cooling bills, reduce air pollution, water conservation, harboring wildlife and prevention of soil erosion. Trees help in climate control through the moderation of wind, rain and sun. With the trees there is absorption of the radiated energy from the sun. The purpose of trees especially in urban areas provides cooling effect. This helps in energy conservation whereby, instead of offices buying coolers and electric fans, which consume a lot of electric power, planting trees can be used in air cooling and moderation.
Air pollution from particulates and dust can be filtered through leaves from trees. This therefore boosts the quality of air through the use of turf, scrubs and trees. The pollutants are then washed to the ground through rain. Planting shrubs and trees, enables the environment to be natural and not artificial. Wildlife and birds get attracted to a vegetated area. This area will then be characatersied by the natural cycle of reproduction, plant growth and decomposition thus leading to natural harmony. The decomposition of natural organic composites acts as the natural and cheap fertilizer for other plants such as vegetables like kales, carrots, spinach and potatoes among others.
The direct economic benefit of planting shrubs and trees is as is associated with saving energy cost. The cost for air-conditioning is lowered through the shading of homes and offices. When windbreak are installed in homes and offices the heating cost are reduced. For economic purpose the trees increase in value right from the time when they are planted to maturity. Therefore, trees can be an investment of fund. This therefore means that a home with trees is always sold at a higher value than a home with none. The increase in the value of the property and the saving of the cost of energy are for the benefit of the owner or for the business premise owner.
The indirect benefit of trees applies to the whole region and community. The customers can pay lower bills for electricity. Companies will also be able to use little water for cooling purpose. Thus, a company can use the resources for building new facilities to meet demand and used reduced fossil fuel for the furnaces. Planting trees in these companies is the simplest way which these companies can control the pollution of air. Money is saved by the community when only a few facilities are built to control soil irrigation. Trees act as traps for holding soil together by its roots. The community will therefore not have to spend much in the building of gabions and terraces.
Trees are important for human existence and should be in the frontline of environmental conservation. Trees produce oxygen. A mature leafy tree can produce enough oxygen to be used by ten people in period of a year. The air we breathe is filtered by the forests. Trees also act in cleaning the soil. Trees act in absorption of dangerous chemicals and other pollutants into forms which are less harmful. This process is known as phytoremediation. Trees therefore filter farm chemicals and filter sewage. The trees reduce animal waste effects, clean spills by the roadside and clean the runoff water into steams.
Noise pollution is controlled by trees. Urban noise is muffled by trees in a way similar to stone walls. When trees are planted in strategic points in the home and in the neighborhood, major noise from airports and freeways are abated.
Water runoff from storm is slowed down by tree. A tree like Colorado blue spruce which is either growing or is planted is able to intercept 1000 gallons of water or more every year. The slowing down of water runoff leads to the recharging of the underground water.
The air is cleaned by trees because they intercept particles which are airborne, absorb pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide and assist in heat reduction. When the air pollutant is removed by tree, air temperature is lowered through respiration (Akbai, 2001).
In cold and windy seasons, tree acts as windbreaks. This therefore lowers up to 30% of heating bills in homes. Trees have a significant effect in snow drift reduction. The drying effect of the soils is reduced because the trees reduce wind. Also vegetation behind the trees will properly germinate as a result of top soil maintenance by the windbreak.
Akbai, H (2001) Energy saving potential and air quality benefits for urban heat island mitigation PDF. Retrieved from
On November 30, 2010
Global warming is currently the biggest threat to the future existence of life on earth. Global warming refers to the gradual increase in the temperature of the earth. Since 1950 the temperature of the earth has gradually increased by 6 degree Celsius and the trend is still looking up (Global warming.com, 2010). Two phenomena have been attributed to being the causes of global warming. These are; (1) rise in the level of green house gases in the atmosphere and (2) destruction of the O zone layer. Global warming has also led to a number of significant effects on earth and people livelihoods.
Global warming is largely attributed to rising in the levels of green house gases in the atmosphere. Green house gases are such as Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, Nitrous oxide and Fluorocarbons (Hopwood and Cohen, 2004). The green house gases blanket heat radiations from the sun causing the earth temperature to be 33 degree warmer than it would be without the gases. This is what is referred to as “the green gas effect.” The increase in these green house gases is largely attributed to human activities. The largest proportion of the green house gases in the atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide forming about 76% of all green house gases (Hopwood and Cohen, 2004). Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere from many sources but the biggest source of carbon dioxide emission today is combustion of fossil fuel. Fossil fuel has become a major part of daily life providing energy to a large percentage of the earth’s population. Use of this source of energy releases huge amounts of carbon emission into the atmosphere and hence global warming.
Another proven cause of global warming is the destruction of the Ozone layer. Ozone layer is a stratospheric layer of gas that shields the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun (Welch, 2010). Destruction of the ozone layer occurs as a result of industrial and natural processes. Ozone reacts with gases such as chlorine, bromine, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen in catalytic reactions and is destroyed in the process. The destruction of the ozone layers forms what is now termed as the “ozone hole” through which harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun can now reach the earth’s surface (Welch, 2010).
The global warming phenomenon has brought with it several effects. One effect is the rise in the sea level as a result of melting glaciers and world largest icecaps, Antarctica and Greenland, (Derek, 2009). This could lead to displacement of people as ocean water take away land and swallow up beaches. Rise in ocean temperature may also result in more killer storms such as hurricanes and cyclones. Such occurrences have become common these days. Global warming also lead to drastic changes in climate pattern (climate change). This may be in form of increased intensity or duration of precipitation, flooding, drought among others. This affects food and water availability for both human and animals. Global warming may also lead to widespread extinction of species (Derek, 2009). For example, coral which thrive in shallow water may disappear as result of rising sea levels caused by global warming. In addition, global warming has also got some health implication on humans as result of the rising temperatures and heat waves. Heat waves have caused people to suffer and sometime have lead to death of people in some extreme cases. High temperatures also make spread of diseases such as tuberculosis and other airborne diseases easier.
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Global warming poses a great threat to the well being of the Middle East. Compared to other regions, environmental problems in the Middle East have received little attention. I have carried out a research on the Middle East environment and discovered that global warming is connected to two major factors. These are the use of fossil fuels and the war in the Middle East. In my research, I have also discovered that most of the Middle East citizens are not aware of the effects of global warming and the need for environmental conservation.
Body of the progress report
It is evident that global warming is being caused by human beings. Human activities in the Middle East are causing a great impact on the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels is slowly changing the earth’s atmosphere composition and this causes climatic changes which greatly threaten the life of the Middle East. There is therefore need to understand the impact of this activity and change it for the betterment of the future.
Another factor that has connection to global warming in the Middle East is war. War in the Middle East has greatly caused environmental degradation including destruction of land and forests, water and air pollution. For example the oil energy war in Iraq (Shah, A. 2009). This violence can include the use of nuclear weapons. These weapons radiate thermally and hence causing destructive effects on the environment. Though the effects may not be felt immediately they manifest themselves over a period of time and hence causing environmental degradation. These wars will eventually lead to us having lesser time to deal with global warming.
Global warming will have adverse effects on the Middle East community. It will cost both humans and the environment. There may be a collapse in the economy and oil will become more scarce. Due to this collapse in economy, the people will suffer and the effect will be the lack of money to even purchase food. Due to global warming many people in the Middle East could be displaced. This is because global warming results to a rise in sea levels. There are predictions that temperatures will go up to between 1.8 and 4 degrees. These are high temperatures which can melt ice caps and hence result to the submergence of area around the coast. Therefore, the people living in this area will have to vacate to inland.
Research has shown that despite the United Arab Emirates having a small population, it is rated among those regions with very high carbon foot prints on a per capita basis. According to the National geographic, (2010), the Middle East community releases a lot of green house emissions to the environment which may lead to the earth warming to as high as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is therefore need to put in place control measures and find solutions to the issue of global warming. The Middle East community has to come together and agree that ending global warming can also be an easy process that is as well economical. Instead of using fossil fuels, we can use other alternatives like biofuels which are more environmental friendly. It is practical, we should leave the oil to remain in the ground, and change to countries that are modernly industrialized. Alternative sources of oil manufacture can be from using charcoal that is generated from biomass. This will be a great step towards fighting the wars against global warming. We need to address the causes and the solutions to global warming (Kyoto Treaty, 2010).
Other than developing policies that are aimed at addressing global warming, we should develop laws that are aimed at improving the standards in the environment. These laws should apply to all people and sensitize people on the importance of preserving the environment. Even our household wastes have a great impact on the environment. I have observed that there are some poor sewerage systems and poor waste disposal. Some of these materials are not degradable and hence pollute the air. Poor sewerage system in addition to leading to air pollution leads to water pollution and air and water pollution are great contributors of global warming.
Though in spite of reduction of carbon footprints, the earth still warms, we should therefore do something to reduce the Fahrenheit degree. This we should do immediately without wasting any more time. Stabilizing the green house concentrations at 450 – 550 ppm will help us eliminate serious climatic change impacts (National geographic 2010). This means greatly reducing these green hose gas emissions. To achieve this, the people and the government should work together to reduce green house gas emissions.
We therefore need to take measures to protect our environment from the adverse effects of global warming. The Middle East governments have to unite to address global warming as a national as well as an international disaster.
Kyoto Treaty, (2010). The solution to global warming. Retrieved from: http://krath.dk/writing/globalwarming/kyototreaty/. (Accessed 04/11/2010).
National geographic (2010). Global warming solutions. Retrieved from: http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-solutions.html. (Accessed 04/11/2010).
Shah, A. (2009). Global issues: Middle East. Retrieved from: http://www.globalissues.org/issue/103/middle-east. (Accessed 04/11/2010).
Global warming is a contemporary issue on environment today. However, global warming is not universally accepted, and some people do not believe in it, the reason for that is they have not seen any tragedy or crisis happen yet. In the Middle East environmental issues have received relative little attention compared to other region. Environmental issues are often overshadowed by conflicts that exist in this region. In order to understand impact of climate change and global warming research needed to be conducted to find out the best solution to combat this problem.
Contribution of the Middle East towards Global Warming
In order to recommend solutions, the problem must first be identified together with its causes. Research was conducted to investigate the contribution to global warming by the Middle East region. The modern Middle Eastern geopolitical situation has been characterized by one commodity, which is oil. The Middle East Region is endowed with vast energy resources in the form of fossil fuel which forms the back born of many economies including of western countries. Fossil fuel is currently known to be the biggest contributor to global warming through emission of carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide is green gas and the biggest cause of global warming. Therefore contribution of the Middle East to global warming is very direct not only in term of production of fossil fuel but also in terms of consumption. For example, UAE despite its small size has one of the largest carbon emission footprints in the world. Various articles, journals, environmental reports and other relevant environmental materials were consulted to provide information on this issue. Research is still on going and more evidence is going to be provided.
Impacts of Global Warming in the Middle East
The research project is also looked at possible impact of global warming on the Middle East region. It is very crucial for the Middle East population to understand why solutions to global warming are urgently required. Despite downplaying of the global warming issues the Middle East countries stand to suffer adversely from the effect of global warming. Reports show that Middle East towns are under threat of being hit by rising sea level caused by global warming which could displace millions of people.
It is predicated that due to global warming temperature may rise by up to 4 C melting ice caps leading to submerging of coastal areas. The Middle East is also one of the most water scarce and dry regions in the world. With climate being predicated to become hotter and drier due to global warming this region stands to suffer severely. Global warming may result to changes in precipitation and temperature which may result to economic losses due to effect on sectors such as tourism and agriculture. More research will be conducted on this area
Possible Solutions to Global Warming
The final part of the project is to identify possible solution to global warming that can be adopted by the Middle East region. The largest and the most important mitigation measure against global warming is to fight global emission. This study is going to investigate some of the measures that can be put in place in order to reduce carbon emission in the middle east and if possible globally. Being at the heart of production of fossil fuel the Middle East is in much better position to fight carbon emission. This study is going to look at the viability of actions such as; encouraging technologies that will lead to low emissions, giving incentives toward carbon reduction initiatives, setting standards in the automobile industry, regulating production of fossil fuel among other measures.
The existing conflicts in the Middle East contribute to the slowing down of measures that are put in place to address global warming and other environmental concerns. Due to conflicts it is difficult to share relevant research finding between Middle Eastern countries. Sustainable environmental development is inextricably intertwined with peace and political environment in a region. Therefore, to win this war on combating global warming peace and stability must be restored in the Middle East. Research will be conducted to identify the most workable solution to this problem.
Global warming is the most significant and real threat to the existence of the modern world. Research has indicated that global warming is largely caused by human activities and if not checked trends show that this situation can threaten existence of life on earth. The Middle East region, despite being at the center of the causes of Global Warming and being faced by the most eminent impacts of global warming, has played a silent role towards finding a solution to this problem. This has been attributed to many reasons including; existence of too many conflicts that overshadow any other issue and lack of scientific research to inform them about this situation. This research investigates the global warming situation in the Middle East and aims at proposing solutions that can be adopted to fight global warming.
Erik Leipoldt (2006), Effects of global warming, disability and the Middle-East wars, retrieved on November 13, 2010, from Http://www.alternate-energy-sources.com/effects-of-global-warming-and-war.html
This source was used to establish the contribution of the middle East to global warming and the impacts of global warming.
Karin Kloosterman (2009) The Conflicted Middle East to Worsen as Global Warming Causes Rising Sea Levels, retrieved on November 13, 2010, from Http://www.greenprophet.com/.../water-conflict-global-warming
This source was used to establish impacts that global warming may have on the Middle East
Kyoto Treaty, 2010 the solution to global warming, retrieved on October, 4th 2010, from
This source is going to be used to identify courses of action that may be taken by the Middle East to combat global warming
National geographic (2010) global warming solutions, retrieved on, October 4th 2010, from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-solutions.html
This source is going to be used to identify courses of action that may be taken by the Middle East to combat global warming
Rob Jones (2008), Global Warming could Displace Millions in Middle East, retrieved on November 13, 2010, from Http://www.ameinfo.com/148002.html
This source was used to establish the contribution of the middle East to global warming and the impacts of global warming.
Pataki, D.E., & Fung, A. S. Global Change Biology: Urban ecosystems and the North American Carbon Cycle. Volume 12, Issue 11.
Loss of trees and vegetation leads to energy and carbon loss. Urbanization which leads to deforestation has been defined as among the major leading causes of energy loss in form of carbon. Trees save energy since they act as coolants and at the same time a form of carbon storage. Urban areas ecosystem needs balancing in terms of carbon balance and cycling in plants and soils.
Nowak, D. J., & Civerelo, K. L. A modeling study of the impact of urban trees on ozone: Atmospheric Environment. Volume 34, Issue, 10
It is evident that urban trees reduce the effects of ozone concentration resulting to a cooling or shading effect. It is however worth noting that they tend to increase average ozone concentrations in the overall modeling domain. Research has shown that during the day, the average ozone reduction in urban areas is greater that the average ozone increase for the model domain. Hence, increase in urban tree cover leads to an average hourly decrease in ozone concentrations.
Heisler, G. M. Effects of individual trees on the solar radiation climate of small buildings: Urban Ecology. Volume 9, Issues 3-4
Trees provide shading and cooling effect especially when leaved. A leafless tree on the other hand provides minimal shading effect. Tall trees with large crown have been shown to have a great amount of cooling effect. This is due to substantial reduction in the amount of radiation. Hence, tall trees are more favorable as coolants and modes of energy saving.