Category Archives: Environmental degradation

Coastal Dead Zones: Killing coastal ecosystems worldwide

When you think of coastal ecosystems, a region of thriving life generally comes to mind. This image, however, is being slowly corrupted because of human activities. The “life” out of these zones is being sucked out, creating what is referred to as “dead zones”.

Can coasts die? In a way, the life associated with coasts, human activities dependent on coasts are directly because of the organisms that live there. Take these away, and not only does the natural ecosystem collapse, but human economic activities like fishing and tourism will also fall apart. That may not seem like a big deal, but coasts play a huge role in our economies (see here and here for more). Continue reading Coastal Dead Zones: Killing coastal ecosystems worldwide

How does tourism affect the coastal ecosystems?

When you think about going on a holiday, one of the first things that comes to your mind is the beach. Be in Goa, Andaman, Pondicherry, Miami, Sydney or the amazing beaches of France, it seems to attract everyone (63% Europeans prefer the coast as a holiday destination). A thriving tourism industry exists in almost every beach in the world. Whether you want to simply bathe in the sun or do the more adventurous stuff like surfing and scuba diving, beaches appeal to everyone’s interests. In fact, coastal and marine tourism is the fastest growing sector of tourism in the world!

What many people overlook is the effect it is having on the coastal ecosystems. In fact, this is one human activity that does not only harm the coasts; it has a few good effects as well. Let’s take a look at that in this post.

Continue reading How does tourism affect the coastal ecosystems?

Human habitation in coastal environments

In a previous post, I talked about how climate change is a major threat to the coastal ecosystems of the world. But I also said that that’s not the only threat….

Truth is, most of the effects of climate change can be buffered by the ecosystem itself. That’s because climate change is not a new phenomenon. Ecosystems of the past have learnt to deal with it and have even survived it. The real reason why the current climate change poses a threat is that it is coupled with something that has never happened before in geological past: human effect.

Humans possibly pose a bigger threat to the coastal ecosystems than climate change, because our intervention is more direct, more rigorous and more continuous…

In this post, I will specifically look at the effect of human habitation on coastal ecosystems.

Continue reading Human habitation in coastal environments

Ever wondered what happens when you sweep fallen leaves?

Autumn has just passed us by. Every autumn, we see a spectacle of colors all around us. In most temperate regions, leaves change into many different colors. Then, they fall off.

The only irritating thing about autumn is the fallen leaves. It can clog up drains, create a mess in our gardens and roads, and make things minutely uncomfortable for all of us. But, it is uncomfortable enough for us to do something about it. What do we do?

We sweep away these leaves and collect them in a pile. Here, the leaves are covered up so that they don’t fly and spread in the wind, and eventually they are burned. An innocent response to mess, you would say. But have you ever thought what it can cause?

Continue reading Ever wondered what happens when you sweep fallen leaves?

Explaining coral bleaching: Draining the colors of the oceans

Coral bleaching has been heavily discussed in every climate-change blog, environmental journals and among the academia for the last few months. In fact, reports that the Great Barrier Reef is dead went viral on social media and caused mass uproar. People began posting updates lamenting the terrible things we have done to nature (which is a good thing. People need to be shocked into reality) and how “diving into the reefs” will never be ticked off of their bucket list.

However, these reports were false. The coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, and other parts of the world are not dead. But, they are dying. 

Coral bleaching has been occurring with increasing frequency as a world phenomena for the last 20 years. The first mass bleaching was in 1998 (which destroyed 60% of the reefs in the Arabian Sea) and the second one was in 2008.

Today, another, much bigger coral bleaching event is underway. This one is longer and therefore, much more dangerous than the previous bleaching events. What makes it worrying is that the corals of the world have not yet fully recovered from the 2008 bleaching event; the one that lasted for 2-3 years around the world. We are looking at a 40% permanent loss of coral reefs all over the world because of the current bleaching event.

40% of the coral destruction is being caused by these human activities, as opposed to only 10% caused by climate change.

What is coral bleaching? Why does this happen? What are its implications? Lets answer these questions in this post. Continue reading Explaining coral bleaching: Draining the colors of the oceans

Mining: Environmental degradation caused by improper practices

Mining has been an done on Earth since humans realized the potential of metals and non-metals in improving the quality of their lives. However, mining has taken humongous proportions since the industrial age. The uses of mined materials, ranging from metals to radioactive elements to coal and petroleum, has expanded into fields that were previously untapped. If you think about it, most of the things around you has some quantity of mined material in it (look around and see for yourself). If you tell me that paper has nothing mined, then think about how paper is made. It’s made using machines, that are made of….metals. Indirectly or directly, they rule our world.

But in a universe where karma Continue reading Mining: Environmental degradation caused by improper practices

The Poop problem: Pollution caused by animal wastes in the United States

(Also in response to Daily Prompt’s one word prompt-percolate…”the water mixed with wastes percolates into the ground and pollutes the groundwater”)

Growing animals for consumption is a huge task that requires great environmental investment. This “investment” causes a multitude of environmental problems like deforestation, overgrazing, and soil erosion, among others (see Land degradation: Role of Overgrazing for more). But the environmental problems do not end there. Even after an animal farm has been successfully established, you can create many more environmental problems. One such problem is waste management.

Animals poop. Continue reading The Poop problem: Pollution caused by animal wastes in the United States