An issue that I feel has a large effect on environmental planning especially in the future would be the global climate change. Climate change is a term which also tends to be referred to as global warming. This problem has been occurring because of increased amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being put into the atmosphere. These increased amounts are coming from things like the production of energy, industrial processes and deforestation. Once in the atmosphere these gases trap the radiation which isn’t supposed to happen. This trapping of gasses is effecting the climate of the earth entirely. It is causing the earth to begin to warm up, which in return has larger effects on other parts of the earth and not just the temperature.
The alteration in climate is having many effects on the world. First of all the most crucial outcome of global warming is the rise in sea level. Another outcome is that there are more storms which are going to occur. One other outcome is the possibility for more extended droughts occurring. Global warming is an issue which is near impossible to control, it will take a long time to finally stop it and fix the earth’s atmosphere. Control over the use of greenhouse gases especially carbon dioxide are near impossible especially with how many uses it has. Therefore, it is more important to deal with the consequences of what people have done to the atmosphere. The possibility of sea level rise, increased intensity and occurrence of storms and also increased droughts would need to be taken into consideration when building and designing future sites which have the possibility of enduring any of these issues. These three issues which are occurring from global warming are going to have a large impact on the future of environmental planning.
The first issue of increased sea levels is one which I think has a lot of importance. The rise in the level of the sea will affect the areas closest to the coastline but also those who are a little more inland. Towns located closest to the beach will begin to notice differences soon enough. As the glaciers begin to disappear so will the current coastlines. Towns will slowly be taken over by the ocean and become just a memory. It is the planners jobs to figure out what to do with the changing coastlines. There are many options which can be taken. From making residents raise their houses to having the government entirely take over those towns closest to the water. There are so many options that can be taken when dealing with the changes in sea level.
The next issue to be deal with is the intensification and increased amounts of storms. Most recently New Jersey was hit by hurricane Sandy. The entire state felt the effect of this storm not just those located by the shore. There was power outages, flooding and wind damage which many residents of the state had to deal with. When addressing the issue of having more storms like this we would need to build better power lines or even have lines which run underground that won’t be affected by trees falling or high wind speeds. Next, houses which are more likely to be effected by floods should be raised. Also, buildings should be built to be more sustainable to higher wind speeds.
Lastly the issue of increased amounts of droughts which have the possibility to be very severe. Water is needed not just for people and animals to consume but also to irrigate crops. Also from droughts come the higher chance of wild fires. Wild fires during a drought can be extremely devastating. Having a fire but no water to put it out is a nightmare. There would need to be a lot of preparation for the dry seasons that may start to occur mainly there needs to be storage of large supplies of water in places. By having less grass to worry about to water in the dry season there will be less water needed. Also, if farmers learn to grow crops which need less water and are used to drier climates then there won’t be too much of an economic loss for them.
Public education and awareness is a great way to notify the citizens of areas which may be effected by climate change. Having people understand the effects it will have on them especially those close to the coastline will let them understand what the future of their towns maybe. Depending on how close to the shore they are they may either build their houses higher or try and move more inland. By notifying residents there may tend to be less reluctance and more understanding and corporation from them.
By educating communities and keeping them in mind while coming up with the steps and process to implement solutions there will be a better acceptance and cooperation. Solutions like lifting their houses up in more flood prone areas and areas closer to the shore, building underground power lines, having storage of storm water for drought seasons, and planting more drought tolerant crops. Not only will there be a need of collaboration within the communities but also with the government and different engineering firms. All of this work will take a lot of planning and building. There will need to be funding for this all to occur, but this is something which affects the well being of the people.