Arctic Despair & Why We Should Care

Within the past couple months, there was a mass posting and publishing both online and in newspapers of articles about the Arctic Sea Ice melting. The ice has reached a record low at just 24% coverage (opposed to the last record low at 29%). This melting has revealed land masses that potentially withhold valuable fossil fuels and oils that have caused nations all over the globe to scramble for territory to mine, drill, and blow up in search of a possible fortune.

I read several articles on this topic from different online and published papers, beginning with The New York Times, to learn more and also to do some investigating. Out of the articles I read, none mentioned the reason for this melting: us.

The Arctic Sea Ice melting is not a natural occurrence, and we are in part to blame. Each day we burn thousands of gallons of oil, gasoline, and fossil fuels, such as coal, that release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. However, the land and water are also greatly impacted by our activities since many pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and other chemicals are released into the soil and water through farming, runoff, and flooding.

What the articles did not mention is that this leads to the warming of waters and death of ecosystems, such as The Great Barrier Reef. It is also one of the main reasons why the Arctic Sea Ice is melting. The ice melting may seem like a gift in times of economic crisis and a dwindling oil supply, but the destruction of this ecosystem will have long-term impacts that we need to become aware of.

Besides the destruction of habitats for animal species native to the Arctic, the melting will also lead to a rise in sea level which will jeopardize the safety and productivity of coastal economies and housing developments.

The Arctic Sea Ice is just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended) and I hope that by spreading awareness on the issue, we can avoid further warming of the oceans through the runoff of our chemicals and waste. In turn, I hope we can stop (and hopefully reverse) the destruction of vital ecosystems such as The Great Barrier Reef and The Arctic Sea Ice and create a healthier environment for the health of the world and all its inhabitants.

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