Global Warming Impact – Loss of Coral Life in The Great Barrier Reef

In the past couple of days, national and international news sources have been reporting that global warming is causing irreversible damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Known as the world’s largest coral reef system with over 2,900 individual reefs, The Great Barrier Reef has reportedly lost half of its coral since 2016 according to The Atlantic. Located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, The Great Barrier Reef is well-known for being the world’s largest single structure made by living organisms and can be seen from outer space. It supports a wide diversity of marine life – including whales, sharks, turtles, and crustaceans.

However, in most recent years, damage to the reef has reduced the size of this natural coral system and has also radically altered the mix of its marine species according to scientists. In a New York Times article published earlier today, researchers have noted that nearly one-third of the reef’s coral were killed when ocean temperatures spiked in 2016, as a result of global warming. The underwater heat wave that damaged huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef was so severe that scientists have reported that the natural wonder will probably never look the same again. Once labelled by CNN as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef’s entire ecological identity has changed forever due to the conclusion that losses in certain species has irreversibly damaged the make-up of this extraordinary ecosystem.

The director of a government-funded center for coral reef studies at James Cook University, Terry P. Hughes,  is also the lead author of a study currently being done on the deteriorating state of the Great Barrier Reef. Hughes has reported that in 2016 alone, “about 30 % of the Great  Barrier Reef’s corals were lost, with the most severe damage in the isolated northern sector”. Last year another ocean heat, took another 20% of the corals, according to Hughes.

 The back to back record-breaking marine heat wave is an “unprecedented” event in the reefs recorded history according to researchers and scientists studying the effects of global warming on coral reefs. The higher temperatures create a dilemma for the reefs because the excessive heat results in a massive coral bleaching event, according to Scientific American. “Healthy corals have a symbiotic relationship with tiny algae, which live inside them and give them bright colors. But when corals experience heat stress, they expel their algae, turning a bleached white color in the process.”

Although bleaching isn’t necessarily a death sentence for corals, extremely warm periods can kills reefs before their algae can get a chance to regrow and recover. Researchers have concluded by examining the Great Barrier Reef, that some coral species are better at “weathering heat stress” than others. Surveys done on the The Great Barrier Reef have suggested that many areas have seen a decline in fast-growing species, such as staghorn and tabular corals, with slower-growing, simpler species being left behind. Researchers have stated that this is a perfect example of natural-selection at work.

As a reef structure that is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, the conclusions being drawn about the Great Barrier Reef presents both good and bad news. On one hand, the survival of “slower-growing , hardier coral species” suggests that there’s still a future for the reef, although it may look different from what it was in the 20th century. On the other hand, many of the surviving corals are much simpler due to their physical structure compared to their “faster-growing” counterparts, which were notable for their “complex, branching 3-D designs.

Image result for  3D design great barrier reefs

-Sample image of healthy coral structure, source unknown 

As a World Heritage Site since 1981, The Great Barrier Reef is in danger of never fully recovering from the recent rise in global temperatures that has shown to have a negative impact on ecosystems around the globe. According to researchers, prospects for a full recovery are slim. “Even if some of the faster-growing species started to make a comeback, it would still take at least a decade for them to return to their previous levels,” says sources quoted in Scientific America’s most recent article on the future of the Great Barrier Reef. According to many in the scientific community in Australia and around the globe, it’s more likely that more heat waves will occur in the meantime, causing more damage before the reef has fully rebuilt itself.  With an area of 134,634 mi², the future of the Great Barrier Reef relies on the global response to climate change and on the research used to discern the best course of action for saving one of Earth’s most beloved seven natural wonders.

Til next time,

Nina

Nina Osagie-Egbon is a member of the student Communications Team in ACP/SUST 250 “The Sustainable University” class at Roosevelt University in Chicago. This spring 2018 semester, the Communications Team is writing for and editing the RU Green Campus blog and social media channels.

Sources:

Harvey, Chelsea. “Recent Ocean Heat Waves Have ‘Forever’ Altered Great Barrier Reef.” Scientific American, 19 Apr. 2018, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/recent-ocean-heat-waves-have-forever-altered-great-barrier-reef/

Mooney, Chris. “Global Warming Has Changed the Great Barrier Reef ‘Forever,’ Scientists Say.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 Apr. 2018, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/04/18/global-warming-has-changed-the-great-barrier-reef-forever-scientists-say/

Williams, Jacqueline. “Damage to Great Barrier Reef From Global Warming Is Irreversible, Scientists Say.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Apr. 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/world/australia/australia-barrier-reef.html.

 Meyer, Robinson. “Since 2016, Half of All Coral in the Great Barrier Reef Has Died.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 18 Apr. 2018, http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/since-2016-half-the-coral-in-the-great-barrier-reef-has-perished/558302/.

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“Sustainable” Film Screening Today @RooseveltU at 4:30pm

The Sustainability Studies Program @RooseveltU is hosting a film screening, followed by a panel discussion, in honor of #RUEarth Month2018 today, April 18 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Wabash Building, Room 317. All members of the Roosevelt community and the public are invited to see and discuss the film Sustainable: A Documentary on the Local Food Movement in America. The event Features a faculty panel discussion with professors Jeannine Love (POS) and Vicki Gerberich (SUST), with Graham Pickren (SUST) moderating.

This film won the 2016 Accolade Global Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Achievement. It reveals a vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system from the agricultural issues we face – soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticides, and more – to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it.

For more information, contact Professor Graham Pickren at gpickren@roosevelt.edu. And check out these other cool #RUEarthMonth2018 events planned at Roosevelt!

Posted in Events, food, Students

WB Residence Hall Greencycle Event Today at 4pm (& More Earth Month Events)

Students, do something sustainable with your extra/unwanted stuff! As our Residence Hall move-out day approaches, many students may have clothing and other things that they don’t use or need anymore. Instead of throwing these things away and adding to landfill waste, students may donate those things at the upcoming RU Greencycle Event, sponsored by the Residence Life project team of ACP/SUST 250 The Sustainable University and the WCC.

Drop-off bins will be installed for students to leave their donations on the WB 14th floor. No work or fees are required! Students participating are encouraged to sift through donations and take clothing or objects for reuse. Any leftover objects will be donated to a shelter.

Contact RA Claire Wilson (residencelife2018@yahoo.com) for more info and if you’d like to participate by staffing a donation table.

More Earth Month 2018 Events @RooseveltU

Wed 4/18 — Film Screening of Sustainable: A Documentary on the Local Food Movement in America: film + panel discussion, 4:30-6pm in WB 317. Contact Prof. Graham Pickren (gpickren@roosevelt.edu) for more info.

Thurs 4/19 — Guerilla Gardening: Make Your Own Seed Bomb! (10am-2pm AUD Fainman Lounge), sponsored by the student organization RU Green. Students can come to our table setup to make their own “seed bombs” — a combination of clay, compost, and native seeds. They can be thrown into yards or neglected areas to transform them into flowering wonderlands. Contact Yessenia Balcazar (ybalcazar@mail.roosevelt.edu) for more info.

Fri 4/20 — Undergraduate Science and Math Symposium (8:30am-4pm, WB 4th & 6th floors): RU’s annual showcase of student research in biology, chemistry, and math. Unbelievably fun as well as intellectually edifying! Free lunch with advance registration by 4/6.

Sat/Sun 4/21 and 4/22 — Earth Day Events throughout Chicago, sponsored by the Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) and other organizations. Check out the many events listed here by C3 as well as these by the Cook County Forest Preserves.

Mon 4/23 — SUST Student Symposium (WB 616 and 1315): Features ten team presentations by RU undergraduate students in ACP/SUST 250 The Sustainable University. From 2:00-4:45pm in WB 616, teams will describe their work on campus sustainability projects on bottled water policy, environmental communication, curriculum, purchasing, residence life, rooftop gardening, signage, transportation, and video production. Then at 5pm, we’ll head upstairs to WB 1315 for light refreshments and three individual presentations by senior SUST majors doing internships and independent study research this semester. RSVP to Prof. Mike Bryson (mbryson@roosevelt.edu).

Wed 4/25 — Careers in Sustainability (4:30-6pm, WB 1315): current students from all majors are invited to this first-ever interactive event in which a panel of alumni from RU’s Sustainability Studies program will discuss their current jobs, career pathways, and the impact of their RU education, as well as answer questions from the audience. Light refreshments provided; RSVP to Prof. Mike Bryson (mbryson@roosevelt.edu).

Thurs 4/26 — RU Green End-of-Year Meeting/Party (time/location TBA): Contact RU Green president Yessenia Balcazar (ybalcazar@mail.roosevelt.edu) for more info.

Posted in Chicago, Courses, Events, Recycling, Service, Students, waste

Sustainable Living: Environmentally Clean

By: Breanna Gordon

Keeping a clean-living space can bring about an immense amount of stress relief. I understand that cleaning can be very overwhelming with all of isles of products claiming to do the same things. Which do you use?  None! It is not necessary to spend money on chemicals that can bring about harm to not only your health, but to the environment.

Recently, I moved into an apartment that needed a lot of TLC in the bathroom. Being that I am new to housekeeping I went straight to my aunt for advice. Surprisingly she suggested white vinegar to be one of my staple products.

This led me to investigate other safe cleaning products and implement them into my cleaning routine. Here’s how I get things environmentally clean.

After an old shirt is unwearable, I cut the shirt into squares and use the squares as towels. I fill a bowl with water and squeeze any excess water from my DIY towel into a sink. White vinegar is used to clean all the surfaces in my bathroom. I pour vinegar into a glass spray bottle and spray as needed. Once the vinegar sits for a minute or two, I take my DIY towel and wipe the vinegar away.

For any grout that builds up on tile I use baking soda and water. I place baking soda and water in a bowl and mix it with an old toothbrush until it becomes a paste. I apply the paste to the grout and use the toothbrush to scrub in between the tile. Once the scrubbing is complete I wipe the tile down with my DIY towel.

To clean my mirrors and windows I also use white vinegar. I spray the vinegar onto my mirrors and windows and use old papers to wipe the vinegar away.  This leaves the mirrors and windows sparkling clean.

If the smell of vinegar is not to your liking, place orange peels in the spray bottle. After two weeks the vinegar will adopt a citrus flavor. You may also use your favorite essential oil to satisfy your smell preference.

To learn more uses for white vinegar click here.

Breanna Gordon is a member of the student Communications Team in ACP/SUST 250 The Sustainable University class at Roosevelt University in Chicago. This spring 2018 semester, the Communications Team is writing for and editing the RU Green Campus blog and social media channels.

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The Problem with Palm Oil – Deforestation & Beyond

In grocery stores around the world, consumers are able to purchase a very controversial product that directly contributes to global climate change. Palm oil, which is used by many indigenous cultures around the world, can also be found in nearly half of all supermarket products. In a recent Global Citizen article published earlier this week, Chris Gelardi explains that because palm oil is in such high demand across the globe, top producers in Southeast Asia have been deliberately clearing their tropical forests by setting fire to them in order to make room for palm oil plantations.
This illicit deforestation decimates the habitats of countless species, including the orangutan, which has lost 80% of its habitat over the past 20 years according to the Orangutan Project.

Til next time,

Nina

Nina Osagie-Egbon is a member of the student Communications Team in ACP/SUST 250 “The Sustainable University” class at Roosevelt University in Chicago. This spring 2018 semester, the Communications Team is writing for and editing the RU Green Campus blog and social media channels.

Posted in Uncategorized

Volunteer for Chicago’s Clean & Green Day of Service – 4/21/18

Hey Everyone! On Saturday, April 21st, you and your friends can make an immediate difference in your community by participating in Chicago’s citywide ‘Clean & Green Day of Service’.

‘Clean and Green’ is a great opportunity for residents, school groups and community organizations to team up and beautify areas in their neighborhoods. The city will provide brooms, rakes, shovels and bags needed for clean-up projects.

Since the entire month of April is designated as “Earth Month”, people around the world will be showing their appreciation for our precious planet on Earth Day, April 22, while also helping raise awareness of its increasing fragility and pledging to do our part to protect it.

So, if you’re interested in helping make our planet a little cleaner, consider gathering your friends on the 21st so you can be a part of the world-wide effort to clean up our planet and make it a better place for everyone!

The deadline to register for this event is Monday, April 16th.

For more information, or to register, call 311. You can also visit: http://www.cityofchicago.org/dss

Happy Earth Month! 🌎

Nina Osagie-Egbon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

How much has the sea level risen? How can we stop climate change?

By: Selena Rodriguez

It could be scary to think about how much our sea level has risen over the years, but it is important to be aware so we all realize that change needs to happen.

To answer this question, I did a little research and was able to get information from NASA. According to NASA, our global average sea level has risen about 7″ over the past 100 years. Now this might not seem like a big deal, but let me be the one to tell you that it is. And the reason that this is happening is because of climate change. I really do believe there is climate change and that it has been happening and will continue to happen if not taken seriously. Of course there are those that believe it is unreal or just not possible, but one thing is for sure; numbers don’t lie.

As noted by NASA, sea level rise is based on two main factors that relate to global warming; the expansion of seawater as it warms and the added water from melting ice sheets. Climate change, which is also known as global warming, is nothing new but the question is what can we do to stop climate change?

This question is a littler harder to answer not because there aren’t solutions, but we need the support from those who have the “power” to hear our voices and make our concerns known to those who can set better solutions or ones that we have not tried.

If you click here, you will see that NASA explains that they are not trying to set up a climate policy, but rather provide scientific data to make sure that we, as well as the world, understands climate change that way we can figure out how to fight back.

If we all become aware of what is happening not just within our region but all regions, then we can all work together to save our precious Earth.

Selena Rodriguez is a member of the Student Communications Team in ACP/SUST 250, The Sustainable University class at Roosevelt University in Chicago. This Spring 2018 semester, the Communications Team is writing for and editing the RU Green Campus blog and social media channels.

 

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