Thursday, April 22, 2010

Diary of an American Shopper day 173

I know I've talked about it before, but I love this country. I love the different landscapes it offers. I'm always amazed that we have: oceans, deserts, rivers, streams, rainforest, glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, valleys, badlands, canyons, islands, capes, wetlands, basins, reefs, archipelagos, geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, plains, cities and towns. It is awesome in it's size and resources. As we celebrate, Earth Day, I want to share with you a few facts about this great land of ours.

Hawaii is the only state that features almost all of our landscape features in one location - it has oceans, mountains, valleys, deserts, volcanoes and rainforest. It's an amazing place, and the only state that is growing every year. As the Kilauea volcano continues to erupt on the big island, she continues to add land mass to the island. Therefore, making Hawaii our youngest state both in in adoption to the union, and in it's time on the earth. And this change is happening solely because of Mother Nature.

But what about the areas of our country that are changing because of Us?

At one point, the wetlands along the Gulf Coast, protected our shores from all sorts of natural disasters as well as housed wildlife and improved the overall water quality of the area. On the EPA's website, I learned that an acre of wetland can store 1-1.5 million gallons of floodwater. That up to one-half of North American bird species nest or feed in the wetlands, and Although wetlands keep only about 5% of the land surface in the lower 48 United States, they are home to 31 percent of our plant species. And despite these fact, the US loses about 60,000 acres of the wetlands each year. That gave me pause. The wetlands along the gulf coast are deteriorating. And I want to do something about it.

Glacier National Park in northern Montana is losing it's glacier's at a staggering rate. This year, it lost an additional two glaciers, and experts are predicting that the remaining 25 glaciers could be gone by the end of the decade. These glaciers are disappearing at such an alarming rate that Dan Fagre, an ecologist with The U.S. Geological Survey stated, "When we're measuring glacier margins, by the time we go home the glacier is already smaller than what we've measured." I find that terribly upsetting. Glacier Bay once homed 137 glaciers and now, we could live in a world where our children may never understand where this National Park got it's name. These glaciers feed the streams and therefore ecosystem of the region. Also, without the water flow, the chance of forest fires also increases.

But what can we do? In the spirit of What You Can Do, I pledge to make one simple change to help save these Wetlands and Glaciers. I vow that I will not purchase any new yarn (I'm an avid crocheter) or books for the next 6 months. I will use what I have, and donate the money I save to organizations that address these issues.

I mark day 173 a depressing but motivating challenge. Will you join me?

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