Climate Change and Water Quality

by wfnblog on December 28, 2012

By now, most of the world understands what climate change is. Formerly touted as “global warming,” we now know it’s much more than the Earth getting a tad warmer. After years of extensive testing and research, few can deny that our weather patterns are drastically changing. Many factors contribute to this, including fossil fuel use, the increased production of greenhouse gases, and massive deforestation.

Love the EarthAfter Superstorm Sandy hit the New York and New Jersey areas in October 2012, most of the world took notice. Around the world, there are major weather events happening every 2-3 years that should only occur every 70-100 years. More and more people are convinced that major climate change is happening and affecting new locales. With these new and worsening weather events, some have started thinking how climate change will affect our water quality and accessibility.

It’s no secret the world is rapidly running out of fresh water. It’s believed that with the rise of sea levels worldwide, more areas will see an increase in groundwater contamination, particularly in low-level areas. The coastlines are most at-risk since the groundwater will be first to notice contamination. Constant pollution from humans into our oceans coupled with pollution from boats (cruise, fishing, and shipping industries) has led to a massive increase in pollutants. Some of these pollutants, like oil and heavy metals, are known and can be removed from our water supply by simple water filters. However, many more contaminants like pesticides and pharmaceuticals are making their way into our water supply which are not as easily removed.

In addition to groundwater contamination along coastlines, temperature sensitive areas along the equator and at the poles would see the most dramatic change in local climate. The North and South Poles are losing ice mass at alarming rates and will continue to do so. The Amazon rain forest and sub-Saharan Africa would also be dramatically affected by continued climate change. These warmer, tropical areas are already faced with malnutrition and water-borne illnesses on a daily basis. Further water contamination would simply add insult to injury, possibly costing more lives due to unnecessary diseases.

Knowing this information about climate change, it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, we all can do our part to help! If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, look into electric or hybrid-electric cars from Tesla, Toyota, or Nissan to help cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. Better yet, cut down how much you drive in general by planning your errands in advance, carpooling, or walking or biking to your destination.¬†Electric power generation for homes and businesses is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.¬†If you’ve been thinking about a home-improvement project, consider adding solar panels to your roof or re-landscaping your yard with native, water conserving plants. Even in your daily activities, you can help reduce your impact on climate change by switching to energy efficient lighting, buying Energy-Star rated electronics and appliances, and unplugging any electronics (including phone, tablet, and e-reader)and their chargers when not in use.


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