Tag Archives: sustain

Climate Change, Sierra Nevadas’ Snowmelt, & the Drought

Lake Sierra Nevada Mnts.

In alpine areas such as the Sierra Nevadas, snow cover is vital to water supply. Mountainous areas like this one provide water for entire watersheds. When snow melts, there can be three different results that occur. The snow can drift off of the surface level of the soil, it can evaporate, or it can replenish groundwater. Groundwater recharge is important because it helps to get underground water levels back up to a healthy level.

Sierra nevada sign

Less snowfall in the Sierra Nevadas has created an effect on humans, wildlife, and the environment. “The lower than historically normal snowfall in recent years is one environmental factor that has contributed to the current drought in California,” says Ryan Webb, a Ph.D. student in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Colorado State University.

Sierra snow depth

^The map above depicts the amount of Sierra Nevada snow depth in inches^

Webb and a group of researchers recently studied the changes in soil wetting and drying in alpine regions packed with snow. The study became published work. It specifically examined groundwater levels and their ability to recharge in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Due to changing climate conditions that have caused extensive change in groundwater levels, in these regions soils do not freeze during the winter and remain wet beneath the snowpack.

Ultimately, Webb and his group’s study will help understand how climate change impacts groundwater supplies, which is a precious resource in drought-stricken areas of the country.

Source:

Melting Snow and Groundwater Levels in Sierra Nevadas. Science Daily. August 20th, 2015.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150820190321.htm

Images:

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Your Ecological Footprint

footprint

Sustainability is becoming more and more popular in our culture today. The term sustainability as defined by the Bruntland Report in 1987 (the first definition) is, “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Since 1987, we have developed far from just having a definition of sustainability. We have the resources and technology to measure and predict our use of nonrenewable resources. We also have the means to understand that humans are destroying our Earth at a rate so quickly that it cannot keep up or even recover.

Each human creates an ecological footprint that determines how our waste and energy use impacts the earth. There are so many ways that humans create their footprint without even recognizing it; by eating more meat, by buying new clothes regularly, by owning a home that has running water… these are just a few ways that we impact the Earth. If you’d like to see your individual impact on the Earth by figuring out your ecological footprint, check out the Global Footprint Network’s footprint calculator at http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/.

Here are some tips to reducing your ecological footprint:

1) Eat less meat and buy more produce from local farmers

2) Use less water in your home and buy water-saving products

3) Use more public transportation and carpool often

4) Dispose of trash properly and recycle all reusable materials

5) Look into supporting your home with renewable energy like solar power

One way that you can reduce your water use is to buy a whole-house filtration system that doesn’t waste water. Filtercon Technologies has created a revolutionary system that reuses backwash to recycle water. Check it out at http://www.filtercon.com or call 800-550-1995 for more information.

Source:

http://www.footprintnetwork.org

Image:

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