Today is Blog Action Day 2009, an event that has grown in popularity over the past few years as a number of bloggers from around the Internet join together to discuss a common cause. The topic for this year’s Blog Action Day is Climate Change, something that we’ve all heard a lot about over the past few years. This is definitely a subject that we should all take an interest in, as protecting the environment and our natural resources has a direct effect on all of us. But considering the nature of this blog, and our obvious love for the outdoors, I think that this is a topic of particular interest to me.
When I started to think about what I would write about in regards to climate change, I started to think about a story I read a few days back about how global warming is effecting Everest. In the story, climbers report that for the first time ever, insects have begun to appear in base camp, which sits at 5360 meters, or roughly 17,585 feet on the mountain. Specifically, the mountaineers found common house flies in their tents during the spring climbing season, at an altitude where it was previously thought that bugs couldn’t survive.
The arrival of insects isn’t the only indication of climate change in the region. The spectacular glaciers of the Khumbu Valley have been receding for years, and it is estimated that they lose between 10-20 meters in length each year. The loss of those glaciers has caused a shortage of water in the area as well, and many villages now find that they have to trek substantial distances just to get a daily supply of drinking water.
If that wasn’t bad enough, mountain guide Dawa Sherpa is quoted in the story above as saying that the summit of Everest has begun to shrink too. In years past, as many as 50 people could stand on the summit at the same time, but now fewer than 18 are able to occupy that because of the reduction in size of cornice at the top of the worlds tallest mountain.
Clearly climate change is taking place all around us, and it is difficult to explain exactly why it is happening. Experts are split on the causes, with some blaming it on man’s abuses of the environment, while others say that it is a natural process that we have little impact on at all. Perhaps most frustrating of all is how political the topic has become, with debate raging about who is to blame and what the economic impact of making changes could be.
No matter what you personally believe about global climate change, and what is the cause of it, one thing we can all probably agree on is that it has raised the awareness of the health of the environment and our impact on it to a new level. Personally, I think that is a very good thing. Even if the human race is not causing these changes, it is still important for us to do what we can to protect the planet.
Many people will tell you that we are destroying the planet with our short sighted approach to the use of natural resources and reckless disregard for the amount of trash that we produce. I’m here to tell you, however, that we are not killing the planet. We are instead killing ourselves. The planet will be just fine. It has survived far worse things than what man can do to it, and eventually it will heal itself. But if we stay on our current path, it is doubtful that man will be around to see it.
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