By: Wincy Yu, Biological Sciences, ‘17 Author’s Note: In light of climate change and environmental talks among world leaders, as well as rising media attention for endangered species around the world, I realized that people were concerned about the consequences, but may not have paid attention to the underlying reasons. Inspired by an ecology class I took last year, I wrote this piece to discuss one of the reasons for climate change and ecosystem loss, which is deforestation.
By N. J. Griffen, English, ‘17 Author’s Note: “I chose to write about this topic as a response to one of the many uncertainties that exists under our newly elected president, Donald Trump. More specifically, this article is meant to encompass the nationwide effort by scientists, professors, researchers and archivists to safeguard, backup and protect work conducted in the realm of climate science. This topic, I believe, should be integrally important to most residents of this planet; due to the fact that we have no choice but to live the entirety of our lives here on earth. Therefore, my interview of the archivists at UC Davis seeks to uncover the motives and connotations that the DataRescue Davis event assumes.”
By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology, ’15 The most current drought in California is considered to be one of the worst droughts in the past century, and many wonder if this severity is due to climate change. However, California has had a long history of unpredictable weather fluctuations, and is familiar with severe droughts. Many droughts can have devastating effects, particularly in the agricultural industry and the hydropower industry. Most Californians have also experienced the effects of a drought first-hand, such as having enforced water rationing. Even though, California’s history has shown that most droughts have devastating effects, droughts can also great learning experiences.
By Renata Vidovic, Evolution and Ecology ’15 To some, the phrase climate change evokes images of dry lakes, melting icebergs, and rising oceans. However, the effects of global warming are not simply cataclysmic geological changes. There are links between all biotic and abiotic features of an ecosystem. Unsurprisingly, climate change has an immense impact on frog populations around the world. Home range, abundance, breeding cycles, pathogen epidemics, and physical degradation in frogs are all affected by the changing climate.
By Jenny Cade, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology ’15 Eating grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken is the eco-friendly thing to do–right? Maybe not, according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings in the National Academy of Science. The study proposes that intensifying livestock production by transitioning from pure grazing to mixed systems–where animals are fed high-energy food like grains–could reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions by 23% by 2030. Currently, livestock account for 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, so such a reduction would be significant. In contrast, a comment piece that appeared in Nature last month calls for increasing grazing to make livestock systems more sustainable. Of eight strategies that the authors outline to reduce the environmental and economic costs of raising livestock, “Feed animals less human food” is number one.
By Ashley Chang, Genetics ’15 Researchers at the GEOMAR Helmhotltz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel are studying the long-term effects of “climate engineering” methods that could help to preserve the climate and protect from rising temperatures. This winter every part of the world except the eastern United States reported record breaking high temperatures. Although political agreements have been made to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the effects may be too slow as levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases continue to rise. This is especially important as populous countries, such as China and India, become increasingly industrialized and consequentially raise their greenhouse gas emissions.