- Cryosphere refers to any portion of the Earth's surface where water is in solid form, including glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, sea ice, snow cover, frozen rivers, lakes, and permafrost. The Cryosphere is closely linked to the Hydrosphere and plays a crucial role in the ecosystem and our everyday lives.
- I've chosen the name because Cryosphere encompasses a wide range of ice around the world. This blog is meant to chronicle not all glaciers, but those that I experience and photograph in my travels. My vision is to visit and write about as many glaciers and other ice forms as possible while I pursue knowledge and share experiences of a beautiful world of ice. I hope you enjoy the photographs and follow along as I go!

30 October 2016

Saving Glaciers

Every person alive and connected to the world has heard the bad news: The ice is melting, sea levels are rising, droughts and famine have already begun. And wait, we're still debating the idea that climate change is real, and that humans are affecting the environment!?

I'll save you the ranting because if you haven't already tuned it out, I'm sure you will soon.

Studies already show that the majority of Americans believe that human affected "Global Warming" is real and a threat to our future. Still, very little is being done to actually address issues and begin to slow the effects. Politicians bicker as they always do, but the real trouble comes in from multi-national corporations turning huge profits from oil, gas, and coal. These Fossil Fuels are quickly worsening the problem of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses invading our precious air and warming the climate. Every gallon of fuel we use and every watt of power we suck from the grid means more money for them. All they have to do is postpone the weaning of the public from their products via confusion about the problem; the longer we wait the more money they make.

Corporate greed aside, there's another powerful issue: Most people don't see the direct effects of their inaction, and don't grasp how the consequences will effect them. I'll admit, this is a problem I still face. Sure, global warming is bad, sea levels rising will displace millions of people in the near future, icecaps are melting and air quality is a concern. But how does it affect me, now?

Personally, I don't want to miss out on any opportunity to experience the raw beauty of glaciers, and I think every human being should have the right and ability to do so as well. One of the reasons I started the Cryosphere Chronicles is to spread the word of how incredibly cool and beautiful these rivers of ice are, and to encourage others to see them in person. Can't do that if they all melt.

That's not to mention the fact that glaciers are the number one reservoir of fresh drinking water on Earth. We all need drinking water.

So yes, I know, you've heard it all before: we must cut carbon emissions and stop driving and go vegan. NO, that's not what it takes! Yes, changing a lifestyle is difficult. The good news is, it doesn't have to be. Taking a small step is better than no steps, and as renewable energy sources are pushed for and explored, it will continue to get easier, but we have to make the initial steps.

The single best thing you can do to help is actually pretty painless: Vote.

Do your research on who is running in local elections. Vote out climate change deniers in favor of those who will listen to your voice and make the changes necessary to begin to turn the tides.

In everyday life there are many small actions you can take to reduce carbon emissions as well as save you money!

Check your thermostat - you shouldn't be cold inside in the summer, or hot inside in the winter. Dress for the season and put on a sweater if your cold.

Check your lights - turn off lights when you don't need them, and change out old bulbs for efficient LEDs. Seriously, why have you not done that yet? It sounds small but 1/4 of ALL power usage worldwide goes to lighting.

Drive efficiently - That's right, you don't have to park your car permanently or trade it in for a Prius, just be smart about driving habits. Walk, bike or bus if possible, and when driving, just avoid sudden accelerating and breaking which waste fuel. By driving smarter you can save a lot of money on gas. And don't idle your vehicle while waiting for someone or running inside 'just for a second.'

Unplug unused appliances - Phone chargers, coffee makers, computers not in use - turn them off and unplug them when possible to save money on your energy bill.

Warm vs. Hot - use warm or cold water settings to wash clothes. If my clothes can come clean in cold water, yours surely can too!

Check for heat/cooling leaks - air leaking from windows and doors wastes energy and money, weatherstrip or caulk them. Incense smoke is a great way to locate where air is getting out.

Conserve water - A separate and serious issue of it's own, especially in the Western U.S., water usage is still a threat to climate change. Think about companies running pipelines to ship water across the Rockies to Denver, or from Nevada to L.A. - huge waste of energy. Heating water for showers? Do you really need to shower every day? Do you need to flush 1.6 gallons of drinkable water every time you pee? Cut out grass for a rock garden or natural vegetation from the area.

I know this last one will be tough, but here goes:

Eat less beef - Wait, Wait, don't go! I didn't say don't eat meat!
Seriously though, beef is one of the largest problems of energy and land wastage in the world, and even eating pork or chicken instead of beef reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of the same amount of meat by 80%! 80%!! From the Smithsonian Magazine - "Beef requires 28 times more land, six times more fertilizer and 11 times more water compared to those other food sources. That adds up to about five times more greenhouse gas emissions."

There, those aren't so hard, right? Thanks for helping to save the glaciers!

This post has been in consideration for some time, but finally brought about in inspiration to the video put out today by National Geographic and Leonardo DiCaprio called "Before the Flood." It's worth your time, I promise!

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