The other day I was using Stumbleupon to browse through some websites that focus on a range of environmental issues. I came across 3 sites in a row that seemed to be about completely different topics but were actually very closely linked. The first website I came to was an article about the downfall of the maple syrup industry. As a native New Englander, I was horrified at the concept of this world running out of maple syrup. And NO, I cannot just switch to that artificial garbage in the plastic squeeze bottle with the cabin on the front. That stuff is an insult to real maple syrup! If you don’t know the difference I recommend you got out and buy some of the real stuff right now. If you wait much longer, it is going to get harder to find. WHY? Because global warming is causing rising temperatures and maple trees are having trouble making enough of their sweet goodness to provide for our needs, along with their own.
Maple trees need a long, hard freeze with a deep protective layer of snow to stay healthy and provide enough sap for converting into maple syrup without harming the actual tree. If you want a nice science lesson on the process, check out The Daily Green but to summarize, the weather up north isn’t so good for sugaring any more. Trees are dying off younger and younger and not reaching the size they used to. The result is less maple syrup for us to put on our pancakes in the morning, which in my mind is a tragedy that somebody needs to fix! Scarcity of maple syrup is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects of global warming and it is something we ALL need to think about if we are going to survive as a species.
Think About This Thursday
Maple trees aren’t the only trees that are having issues lately. Coconut trees on the island of Tuvalu are dying,too, at least according to the next page I that came up in my Stumbleupon lineup. Why are they dying? Because their roots are being drowned by rising ocean water. Tuvalu is one of the smallest countries on this entire planet and dying coconut trees (while inconvenient) are the least of their concerns. Their homes are also getting engulfed by rising tidewaters, their airport runway is partially underwater, and their buried dead are washing out to sea. What is causing the seas to rise and Tuvalu to flood? Rising temperatures cause previously frozen ice caps to melt and all that water has to go somewhere. The resulting ocean levels rise, leaving low lying places like Tuvalu underwater. Global warming strikes again….
Is Your Dinner Causing Global Warming?
So, what else did I learn about on Stumbleupon this week? I learned that hamburgers are causing global warming. Well, what is actually contributing to global warming is the fact that humans are eating way too MANY hamburgers. According to a study in the Lancet, If people in America and other wealthy nations could limit their consumption of meat to the equivalent of one hamburger per day, it would significantly cut global warming, What amazes me is that there are people who are eating MORE than that every day! Are there really people out there eating meat 3 times a day? You do NOT have to become a vegetarian to reduce your carbon footprint! Environmental Defense is encouraging people to eliminate just ONE meal of meat per week. The reduction in carbon dioxide that would result would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. How can you do this? Find alternative sources of protein and join the Meatless Monday revolution. You don’t have to eat tofu…choose beans, nuts, eggs, or cheese for your protein source. Or, eat a salad. An organic one!
I hear a lot of people insist that global warming isn’t ‘real’. They argue that the rising temperatures we are experiencing are a natural cycle that the earth is going through and it has nothing to do with our glutinous, carbon producing lifestyle. Who knows? Maybe they are right….but regardless of whether global warming is real or not, we have only been given ONE planet on which to live and it is in our best interest to take care of it the best we can. When the Atlantic ocean starts encroaching on my currently landlocked home I am not going to CARE what the cause of global warming is. I just know that somebody better figure out a way of cooling things off before I run out of maple syrup!
So, what do YOU think about global warming?