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Impact of Environmental Changes Imminent in Florida

Waterfront+properties+like+Miami+proterties+are+the+most+at+risk+due+to+environmental+changes.

Courtesy if Miami Waterfronts

Waterfront properties like Miami proterties are the most at risk due to environmental changes.

New studies show that Florida is going to be affected by global warming in many different ways by the end of this decade. Due to rising sea levels as a result of global warming, Florida could have almost 64,000 homes at risk due to by 2030, but Miami’s beaches are at the highest risk

Approximately one third of West Palm Beach residents could lose their homes by 2030.. This upcoming crash in the real estate market could lead to a loss of 1.1 trillion of economic value and would result in a loss of 16.9 million in annual property tax revenue, due to all this loss thus could potentially throw up stock points or lower them due to the economy going into a pandemic. 

The study not only shows which communities stand to lose the most value but also which zipcodes are the most at-risk from global warming.  Miami Beach is the most at risk, with 1,584 houses and $610 million of property value potentially being wiped out due to rising sea levels. The impact of the rising sea levels will not just target home value loss and damage but flood insurance and the mortgage industry as prices could go up affecting everyone as a whole.

Besides damaging homes, rising sea levels could also lead to an outbreak of diseases that can be carried by many different organisms. An example would be mosquitoes’ population could expand due to warming temperatures which also gives the mosquitos the potential to expand their habitat. 

Global warming not only raises sea levels, but can cause temperatures to rise and cause the appearance of more storms and hurricanes. Thus rising temperatures can cause the loss of plant and animal species. As sea temperatures are rising this could damage up to 6,000 coral reefs off the coast of the Florida keys and heavy storms could damage natural habitats and nesting areas for many animals. As we expect higher temperatures more heat waves will start to happen we will also expect longer-lasting heatwaves in Florida and across the country, these heat waves could affect the wellbeing of individuals due to fact the heat can cause many health problems such as a heat stroke,heat exhaustion,etc. 

There are solutions to global warming,  to give ourselves the best chance of protecting future generations from the worst consequences of global warming, scientists have said the U.S. and other developed countries need to cut our carbon emissions so that by 2020 we’re emitting 25-40 percent less carbon into the air than we were in 1990. It’s a steep goal but Florida and other states are heading in the right direction as we are cutting on our emission gases, we are starting to use more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. All this will add up to help slow the process of global warming.

About the Writer
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Nick Travis, Social Media Coordinator

Nick Travis is a Junior at Durant High School and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint. He has an outgoing and creative personality. When isn't...

Climate Change Threatens the Monarch Butterflies’ Survival

Humans have to realisee that maltreatment on the environment affects every species on the planet. Endangering one, endangers them all.

Humans have to realisee that maltreatment on the environment affects every species on the planet. Endangering one, endangers them all.

Monarch butterflies are the first thing people imagine when picturing a butterfly. The number of monarch butterflies is dwindling rapidly. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, “a decline of approximately 80 [percent]has been seen in central Mexico and a decline of approximately 99 [percent] has been seen in coastal California.”

The population of butterflies went from hundreds of millions to a few thousand in the last 20 years. This threatens to destroy the balance in the ecosystem as these butterflies pollinate numerous flowers around the world and act as food to several small animals.

The cause of the demise of the monarch butterflies is climate change, urbanization and their effects on the environment monarch butterflies depend on for survival. 

Urbanization has destroyed the majority of the milkweed plants that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on. Urbanization has taken over areas where this plant typically grows, posing a threat to the butterflies as it limits their reproductive capabilities. 

Urbanization has also limited the butterflies’ migration routes. This is especially true in Mexico, an increase in deforestation and development has limited available migration locations for the butterflies during the winter.

Climate change is also affecting the habitats of these animals. According to National Geographic, in addition to urbanization reducing the availability of milkweeds, the increased levels of carbon dioxide are making the plants too toxic for monarch consumption.

Additionally the rising temperatures caused as a result are also affecting the migration patterns of monarch butterflies. As the temperatures increase, the monarchs have to fly farther North during the summer months  otherwise they would molt and inevitably die.

Thus far, the conservation of National Parks has been a saving grace for these butterflies. These parks ensure the butterflies will have a habitat. Conservationists have tagged the monarchs spotted in these parks to allow further studies of the migration patterns. Monarchs have been tagged from a variety of national parks in a variety of parks to collect as much information as possible.

A primary agent in the monarch butterfly conservation movement has been Wildlife Without Borders, a grant program from Mexico which works to protect and replenish the habitats of the monarch butterflies. This program has existed since the mid-1990s, when the numbers of the monarch butterflies began to decline.

This was not Mexico’s first attempt to preserve the existence of monarch butterflies. In 1986, Mexicocreated the Mariposa Monarca, or in English the Monarch Butterfly, Biosphere Reserve. This protects forest land within four distinct butterfly sanctuaries.There are several agencies in Mexico and the U.S that contribute to the conservation effort, despite the public’s lack of knowledge on the subject.

Despite the drastic decrease in the monarch population, the butterflies are not officially listed on the endangered species list. Currently they do have the protection of the Endangered Species Act. This is the temporary status given to the butterflies, a permanent decision will be made by the end of the year.

The programs and agencies cannot save the butterflies on their own, the public needs to be aware that the environmental decisions of humanity, affect the the other animals in the ecosystem. Human perseverance should not be at the expense of the defenseless.

About the Writer
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Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

Legislation is not improving climate change

The graphic explains the projections of the sea level and which areas of the United States will be directly impacted.

earth911.com

The graphic explains the projections of the sea level and which areas of the United States will be directly impacted.

There are several different beliefs as to why the implemented laws aren’t making a significant impact on climate change. To start, while there has been an increase on the quantity of laws, many question the effectiveness of them. The issue is not the laws themselves, but enforcing them. From Vice.com, the “…shortcomings of environmental policies [are broken] into four categories: institutions responsible for the laws, civic engagement, environmental rights, and justice for those who break the law.”

In other words, while the amount of countries that have implemented environmental laws in their governments, each country has its own struggles when it comes to enforcing the set laws. It was uncovered  by Vice.com in the mid-2000s that some Asian countries “…lacked clear or sufficiently comprehensive mechanisms to limit and require monitoring of pollution discharges, file criminal or civil cases, take emergency response actions (such as closing a facility), impose penalties, or order corrective measures.” 

This is very concerning; if those in power don’t have the ability to enforce their own laws, then it’s almost impossible to say that the laws will have a significant impact in stopping the rise of temperatures, and will inevitably cause irreversible damage to the climate and environment.

In the U.S., the issue concerning the effectiveness of climate change laws and agreements previously made have become a burning topic between Democrats and Republicans. Since President Trump’s election in 2016, Democrats argue that he has contradicted himself several times throughout his presidency when discussing he position on climate change. In the past, Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax”; NewReupublic.com, mentions that Trump has “…begun dismantling environmental protections against dirty coal, and installed cabinet heads whose ‘meh’ stance on climate science is a new form of denial.”

In 2015, the U.S. was one of 196 countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement, promising to significantly cut emissions- the U.S. alone promised to cut emissions by 26-28 percent.

One year into Trump’s Presidency, he announced to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. In his speech on June 1, 2017, Trump explains that the previous agreement was harmful and limited growth of the American economy. When discussing the coal industry, he explains that the agreement is flawed in the sense that it puts the United States in a financial disadvantage. “In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs- it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries. This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

Since his election in 2016, the growth of the economy has been at the top of his list of priorities; however, many argue that his notions in making that happen will ultimately lead to severe damage to the climate. “Withdrawing from the deal could result in an additional 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year, speeding up the rate of rising sea levels and melting ice sheets,” (CBSNews.com).

Trump claims that he cares very much about the environment, and by making his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, he is open to working out a new agreement with the Democrats- one that benefits both the environment as well as the American economy. But for now, while trillions of people argue for or against Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, one thing is for certain: if the world can’t come together to solve this worldwide issue, then the planet may face irreversible damage.

About the Writer
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Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

Climate Change: It’s Warmer Than You Think

The+graphic+demonstrates+how+climate+change+has+affected+hurricanes+and+the+potential+dangers.

Mashable

The graphic demonstrates how climate change has affected hurricanes and the potential dangers.

Over the past few decades, the issue of climate change has become a pretty heated topic that has only grown more popular as the globe’s temperature increases.

Despite any opinions one may have, here are the facts: the planet is heating up, and at a fast pace. From LiveScience.com, it has been found that “the average temperature of the Earth has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 °Cover the past 100 years.” And that’s just the start.

The effects of global warming can be seen all over the world, from the increase in severity of extreme weather events, to the bleaching of coral reefs in Australia, to the significant rise in sea levels.

Severe Hurricanes Are Becoming the Norm

Greenhouse gas emissions have significantly contributed to the increase in higher temperatures; one prime example of the effect these emissions have on the environment is the increase of severe hurricanes. Category 4 and 5 hurricanes have become the norm for millions living on the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean.  Hurricanes grow in strength with warmer waters, and due to the increase in temperatures, the Atlantic has become susceptible to more severe hurricanes.

LiveScience states that, “The global number of intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled in number, jumping from 50 per five years during the 1970’s to 90 per five years in the last decade.”

The graphic demonstrates how climate change has affected hurricanes and the potential dangers.

Coral Bleaching in Australia

Aquatic ecosystems are also suffering from the staggering increase of climate-change temperatures. The endangerment of the ocean’s coral reefs has become a severe problem due to these higher temperatures. Majority of the heat emitted from the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, is absorbed by the world’s oceans, which ultimately causes temperatures in the water to increase. This is detrimental to coral reefs, as these are the rainforests of the ocean, and are vital to aquatic ecosystems. “Temperature spikes of only 1.8 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (1-2 degrees Celsius) can trigger mass bleaching events,” says LiveScience.com. Warmer waters cause corals the loose their algae that covers them, leaving them vulnerable. Once the corals die, the entire ecosystem practically fails.

Rises in Sea Level

Sea levels have also dramatically increased, due to the melting of the historic ice sheets from both ends of the world. This poses various threats, including habitat loss for hundreds of different species, an imbalance of populations among species, and, of course, the steady rise in sea levels. This is bad news for states next to oceans, such as Florida. With the rise of levels comes the threat of catastrophic flooding, which is concerning considering the number of people living on the coasts of Florida and other sea-side states. According to National Geographic, “In southern Louisiana coasts are literally sinking by about three feet (a meter) a century, a process called subsidence.” In combination with rising sea levels, this creates a huge concern for those living near the water, and raises questions how people can be protected from this inevitable flooding.

This visual better demonstrates the extent to which the changes impacts the rising sea levels.

Law Implemented

Countries around the globe have been working to come up with solutions to limit the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. There has been a significant increase in climate-change related laws since the 1990s, and from CarbonBrief.org, “In 1997, the database shows, there were just 60 laws in place, with the figure having risen 20-fold to reach 1,260 today.”

While there has been an increase in the amount of climate change related laws, they don’t seem to have a significant impact in the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Why? If there has been an increase on laws and specific protocols that companies must follow, then why are climbing temperatures continuing to be a topic in today’s new?

Stay tuned for part two next week.

About the Contributor
Photo of Meghan Dulay
Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

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