Climate Change and the Grand Canyon
By Helen Platts
In the American Southwest 2001-2010 has been the hottest decade on record. Drought conditions are already prominent in the Southwest, but the drought is expected to intensify and lengthen. Colorado River water sources are decreasing while seeps and springs are turning from perennial to ephemeral.
There are many species that are likely to suffer significant loss due to climate change. Desert Bighorn are at risk because the drought is reducing forage. The Condors will likely experience trouble with less water availability and rising temperatures. Furthermore, Mountain Lions could be forced into migration due to rising climates.
Drought and Drying Water Sources
The Colorado River is a water source for many of the surrounding areas. As well as being reduced by community water demands, the river is drying due to rising temperatures and lack of precipitation and snowfall. Fish and other water based ecosystems will be severely threatened by drought. Some of these species also face extinction.
Native American Communities
Native American communities rely on springs in the Grand Canyon for water supplies. If these springs dry up, the people will feel the effects on their lifestyle and agriculture. As their farmland dries up, Native American communities will also struggle to cultivate food.
How to Act on Climate Change?
Scientists are in agreement that the threat of climate change is due to human activity. Reducing carbon footprints can reduce pollutants that add to climate change. Individuals should begin to drive less, and walk or cycle more when they can. Recycling and conserving water helps reduce waste. Enjoying and supporting renewable energy proposals, and opposing coal mines and power plants protects the environment rather then exploiting it . Getting out and being active about conserving the environment and National Parks will make a difference. Raise awareness, it is important to act on Climate Change and protect Grand Canyon.