Nature’s Climate Change Weapons

Jacqueline Mullin

Given the opportunity, the earth finds its own balance. A recently released document produced by the Wildlife Conservation Society identifies 14 climate change solutions that embrace methods for fighting climate change by using the innate habits of wildlife and embracing various elements of nature. Large-scale issues such as water scarcity, wildfires, and rising seas are a few of the problems curbed by these innovative ideas.

Water is vital for all life, yet warming temperatures and changes in weather patterns threaten this resource. Washington and Utah’s response to water scarcity has been the reintroduction of beavers to areas where the populations once thrived. An intended repercussion of the newly introduced animals is the appearance of dams, which slow runoff, create opportunities for water storage and alter the movement of the water. These changes allow for continued availability of water upstream throughout the summer when the volume of the resource naturally diminishes.

When it comes to raging wildfires, not only do they have the potential to decimate large areas of land, they also have the power to force wildlife to relocate, sometimes moving animal populations to less hospitable ecosystems where they must quickly adapt to survive.

The reintroduction and protection of pocosin bogs are one of the conservation tools being employed by North Carolina in an attempt to reduce the number and intensity of wildfires in the state. A viable habitat for native wildlife, bogs once drained in the name of agriculture are now being used to store water thereby increasing the moisture level of the land and reducing the opportunity for wildfires to occur or spread.

Living shorelines are one answer to increasing sea levels. Implemented along Maryland’s coastline, living shorelines reduce the opportunity for flooding, protect the structure of the shore and support the growth of marshes. Designed to allow rising sea levels to mould the structure of the shoreline, this climate adaptation technique employs sand and rocks allowing it to be an environmentally friendly and economically viable climate change solution.

The global human population plays a key role in the protection of threatened wildlife and ecosystems by identifying and implementing sustainable conservation tools. Viable climate change solutions are everywhere; we just have to take note of nature’s climate change weapons.