Drastic Climate Change in the Great Lakes

There’s no denying that weather patterns are constantly changing in the United States, and within the last couple of weeks this idea has come evident for residents of Michigan. Since we’re surrounded by the Great Lakes, we’ve become known for our diverse ecosystems, rich soil, fresh water, and northern forest. However with all the drastic changes in weather, people are left wondering how this will affect the state of Michigan.

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Many people believe our climate change is mainly from humans. On a daily basis humans are burning fossil fuels to produce electricity and drive our cars, which in turn emits gases—principally carbon dioxide—that blanket the planet and trap heat. Ignoring the climate changes that are occurring isn’t an option anymore and action needs to take place in order to avoid extreme outcomes for Michigan. Around the Great Lakes region, motor vehicles and power plants are the leading sources of emissions. We must also focus on helping develop our forests and agriculture to reduce emissions into the atmosphere and help store carbon. The Michigan government also needs to work on developing policies that promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleaner fossil fuel generation can significantly reduce emissions from these sources. With over 19 million acres of forest lands, Michigan has great opportunities to store carbon in trees and soil. This could also help create biodiversity because with such extreme changes in weather, it alters different species composition. So as we lose wetlands, we lose habitats.

Aside from our atmosphere, it’s important that Michigan focuses on keeping our Great Lakes clean. By reducing the use of nitrogen fertilizers, it would improve the health of our streams and lakes, which in turn who greatly improve our drinking water. The Great Lakes provide 95 percent of the United States’ water supply, so it’s extremely important to make sure we do everything in our power to keep it healthy and clean. No one can deny that there have been significant changes in weather, but it’s never too late for people to start taking action. Even the smallest things can make a huge difference.

Emily Bildson

References:

http://www.ourmidland.com/news/article_5f38bb86-e030-5f16-9441-8c6026d83e55.html

http://www.ucsusa.org/greatlakes/pdf/solutions_michigan.pdf

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3 responses

  1. I really think you hit on a key issue that Michigan is facing and will be facing in the future. Without the proper mitigation, our daily habits may wreak havoc on the ecosystem of the Great Lakes. I think a good mitigation technique that is already in place is limiting the amout on CO2 pollution that manufactures can put into the air which, according to your post, are the leading cause of emmissions in the Great Lakes region. You also highlight the need for cleaner renewable resources and promote energy efficiency which will help out tremendously. All of which is extremely costly, but it is insignificant the costs that could be incurred if we keep doing what we are doing now.

    Tyler Luce

  2. Im not sure if I believe in the whole global warming thing yet, but there has definitely been a significant change in the climate. According to the graph the second highest thing sending emissions into the atmosphere is transportation. There are many mitigation strategies that can help lower this. They are little things such as car pooling and taking the bus.

    Katherine Palmisano

  3. Julianne Butler | Reply

    I think you brought up some great points as to why Michigan is contributing to climate change. It makes sense that automobile emissions as well as power plant/industry are the leading contributors to climate change around Michigan and the Great Lakes. For this reason, I think that one very important mitigation strategy would be more eco-friendly automobiles. Additionally, governmental policies that stress the importance of reducing industrial emissions are crucial. Also, I feel that public awareness is a necessity that is often overlooked. Though this mitigation strategy may seem simple and obvious, many people do not realize the extent to which the general public lacks knowledge on the subject. Once public education takes place, people are more likely to engage in behavior that is beneficial to the environment rather than harmful to it. Simply making people aware of the impact their actions have on the environment and how these actions contribute to global warming can have a major impact on their behavior. Once made aware of the consequences of these negative actions, more and more people will begin to engage in activities that protect our environment.

    Julianne Butler

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