Category: The Green Team Corner

Sustainability Over the Summer

Tips and Tricks on How to be Environmentally-Friendly over the Summer

By Hammond Green Team Members

Sustainability from Home

Summer’s here! While a few people might be planning to travel this year, the pandemic has botched other people’s plans, so you might be staying home. If that’s the case, why not practice sustainability while you’re at it! Here’s a list of ten eco-friendly tips you can implement from the comfort of your home during your break:

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Crumbling Corals

What is the state of our oceans’ coral reefs, and why are they dying out?

Why are coral reefs important?

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They are often called the “rainforests of the sea” because of the variety of species that use them as a habitat. They support more than 4,000 species of fish, 800 hard corals and so many other underwater plants and animals. About 25% of the ocean’s fish depend on coral reefs and use them as a place to find food, shelter, reproduce, and raise their young. They not only support the plants and animals that live there, but they also provide millions of jobs through fisheries, tourism, and recreation.

Economies receive billions of dollars each year from diving tours, businesses, hotels, and fishing trips near coral reefs. Tourism surrounding them can transform the region’s entire economy. Coral reef animals and plants are now being used in the development of new drugs and medications to treat arthritis, bacterial infections, viruses, and even cancer. They protect shorelines from waves, storms, and floods which help prevent erosion, property damages, and even loss of life.

Barriers reefs help stabilize mangroves which can easily be uprooted by large waves by absorbing the energy of the waves. About 1 billion people live within 100 kilometers of a reef and use its natural resources. Most of these people are from developing countries where reef animals such as fish, crustaceans, and muscles are an important source of protein. Coral reefs are some of the most valuable ecosystems in the world. Not only do they provide protection and habitat to thousands of underwater species, but they also support the coastal communities who live near them.

What happens if we lose coral reefs entirely?

The extinction of coral reefs on earth will cause a chain reaction of devastation for aquatic life and humans. Numerous aquatic animals will become extinct if their main primary supply of food is lost. Animals, such as pygmy seahorses, will be in danger from predators and there will be few places to hide from them. When the coral dies, the reefs die and erode, eliminating essential breeding and feeding grounds for aquatic life. Animals who depend on coral for safety and shelter, such as snapper, oyster, grouper, and clams, will suffer as well. And, since this aquatic life is an important part of many people’s diets, the loss of coral habitats will escalate the issue of feeding these populations.

Because coral is being utilized in many treatments, the wellness of people across the globe, not just those in coastal areas will suffer. The marine fishing sector, which recruits 38 million people globally, will be disrupted. Tourism revenues will be reduced for Caribbean islands that rely on them. Marine tourism will become unattractive or entirely absent as a result of the extinction of corals.

Coral reefs guard from floods and deterioration of coastlines. After they disappear, coastlines will rapidly erode, as well as certain small islands will also disappear. It’s about more than just coral reefs, it has the potential to cause major disruptions in the global food chain. We must take responsibility not only for having a sustainable world for humankind, but also for the aquatic life that lives in our home.

How can you help coral reefs?

Here are a few simple things you can do to help preserve our precious coral reefs:

  • Don’t dump household chemicals in storm drains
  • Eat sustainable seafood
  • Volunteer for beach and waterway cleanups
  • Reduce the use of lawn and garden chemicals
  • If you enjoy underwater activities like diving, refrain from touching the aquatic life you encounter, including corals

 

These 2 photos were taken on a dive trip to Aruba in which Mrs. Niland participated.  However, it was one of the divers from the dive company that took the photos.  She explained to us that divers learn to be very aware of their surroundings and swim carefully so that they preserve the reefs by not accidentally breaking anything off.  She took the following photos on a different trip to the Florida Keys. 


The World’s Worsening Weather

How is climate change affecting different aspects of the world’s weather?

By Hammond Green Team Members

How does climate change affect the world’s water supply?

Climate change is very real and has dire implications for our Earth’s water resources, which are critical to the survival of our societies and our ecosystems. We rely upon a safe and pure supply of water to maintain our health. We also use water for agriculture, energy production, navigation, recreation, and manufacturing. Unfortunately, in many areas, climate change is predicted to increase water demand while shrinking water supplies. Warmer temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water into the atmosphere, which can dry out some areas and cause excess precipitation in others. As these temperatures rise, both people and animals need more water to sustain their health and thrive. Moreover, many economic activities, such as producing energy at power plants, raising livestock, and growing food require water, but these activities may be reduced as the Earth warms, water supply decreases, and competition for water resources increases.

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Our Trees are in Trouble

How is climate change destroying forests around the world?

By Hammond Green Team Members 

What is climate change?

Oftentimes, you might hear the words “climate” and “weather” used interchangeably, or you might have trouble differentiating between the phrases “global warming” and “climate change.” However, it is crucial to understand that these terms each have their own unique meanings as well as their own impact on our planet. To start off, the word “weather” refers to atmospheric conditions that occur over short periods of time, including rain, snow, and thunderstorms.

 “Climate,” on the other hand, is the long-term average of weather that focuses on things such as temperature, humidity and rainfall patterns over many seasons, years, or decades. Similarly, the term “global warming” is the long-term heating of our Earth that originated during the pre-industrial period (between 1850-1900) due to human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels. 

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The Deforestation Crisis

By Hammond Green Team Members

What is deforestation?

Approximately 31% of the land on earth is covered in forests. Forests provide us with medicine, shelter, fuel security, food, and even jobs, but the number of forested areas is decreasing at an alarming rate. This is called deforestation. Deforestation is the intentional clearing of a forest for the purposes of agriculture, urbanization, mining, or animal grazing. It happens the most in tropical areas and rainforests. Agriculture is the driving factor behind the loss of trees, accounting for 73% of deforestation. Forests are being converted into plantations for palm, rubber, oil, soy, coffee, tea, rice, etc. Unfortunately, almost half of global deforestation occurs as a result of the expansion of these types of crops, especially palm oil. Palm oil can be found in 50% of all the packaged products in your local supermarket and its plantations are usually grown on land cleared of forests, making it a major detriment to trees. The construction of roads and other infrastructure, along with unsustainable forest management, wood logging, and wildfires also contribute to deforestation. 

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Protecting the Arctic Wildlife Refuge

By Hammond Green Team Members

Biden vs. Trump 

Throughout their presidential campaigns for the 2020 election, both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have clashed bitterly over controversial topics such as the economy, COVID-19, racism and violence in America, and, possibly the most at stake, our climate. Biden has prioritized combating climate change by propelling the United States on a path toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 (Moore, 2020). Moreover, he’s invested nearly $2 trillion over four years into various areas, including infrastructure and nature conservation efforts (Moore, 2020). Trump, on the other hand, has focused his efforts on bolstering the country’s oil and gas industries and rolling back on Democratic environmental regulations. And now, after three years of struggle, the Trump administration has succeeded in opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil leases, a major environmental reversal with detrimental consequences. 

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Robinson Nature Center Updates

By Green Team Member Robin Liao

During these uncertain times, the actions of many groups, including the Hammond Green Team have been affected. It was for this reason that we decided to contact the Robinson Nature Center to see what they have been working towards during this time, and got some useful insight into the Center’s current operations from Program Manager Meagan Downie via email. 

The first question we sent Ms. Downie asked about any current programs or opportunities that would be of interest to the Hammond High School community. She explained that, much like most facilities during this time, the Robinson Nature Center has had very limited on-site programming due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. These include limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25. However, this did not mean there was nothing to do, as she notably mentioned a weekly volunteering opportunity known as “Gardening Get-Togethers” on Thursday and Saturday mornings where individuals can help maintain the many gardens and trails around the nature center while earning volunteer hours! 

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Treasured Acres: A Poem

By Green Team Member Aadarsh Patel

“Treasured Acres”

From every sea to mountain,

they come searching for the Arctic fountain. 

Sherman’s march to the Wildlife Habitats, 

after all its business for the Diplomats.

Endangered species, refugees, and oil-filled acres, 

awaiting their fate from the invaders.

With no vision of future life, programmed to destroy, 

we must rejoin and fight like the land is our Helen of Troy.

So grab your pens and pencils and write a letter,

all those requests will surely generate some pressure. 

The wildlife shall live to see another northern light, 

for it is the end of their misery and plight.

Are you an artist, photographer, writer, or someone passionate about creative work along those lines? If so, Green Team would love to feature your work in our articles! As long as it relates to the environment, we’ll accept any form of art, including poetry, photography, and paintings! If you’re interested, add your work to this folder on Google Drive: Green Team: Creative Submissions Folder.

The Bear: A Poem

By Green Team Member Shifa Shaikh

“The Bear”

Trudging through the endless white,

The bear shoves through snowy mounds.

The groaning of the creaking ice,

A reverberating sound. 

The blistering, surging heat,

That slinks across the rime,

Renders the ice to sleet,

And softens snow to slime. 

The bear beholds his home,

With a morose, despondent stare.

Oh, the glaciers he used to roam,

Back when bliss imbued the air.

And the brisk and brumal breeze,

That would ruffle his matted fur.

Why, it seems to have ceased.

Along with the puffins’ perky churr.

Alas, this crystal tundra

Has lost its glinting sheen.

As the ravenous people plunder,

With their hulking, gnarled machines.


Are you an artist, photographer, writer, or someone passionate about creative work along those lines? If so, Green Team would love to feature your work in our articles! As long as it relates to the environment, we’ll accept any form of art, including poetry, photography, and paintings! If you’re interested, add your work to this folder on Google Drive: Green Team: Creative Submissions Folder.