National Parks, Climate Change and The Human Footprint

On Wednesday February the 8th our class had a skype meeting with John Crump, who is the Senior Advisor/Climate Change at UNEP/GRID-Arendal Polar Centre. When Crump mentioned how climate change has been effecting the glaciers in The Auyuittuq (ow-you-ee-tuk) National Park of Canada (http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nu/auyuittuq/index.aspx) in Baffin Island I felt intrigued about the reason national parks are created and exist in the first place.  Auyuittuq National Park is located on Baffin Island’s Cumberland Peninsula and the park covers 19,500 square kilometers of rugged mountains, active glaciers, deep valleys, and spectacular fjords. This got me thinking about how climate change and urban development are transforming National Parksworldwide due to changes in ecosystems, the atmosphere and the world’s growing population.

My Personal Experience

National parks are located all around the world so that our land and earth stay protected. The purpose of these parks is to preserve the natural state of the land. Even though people do not live in these areas, both the land and climate are being indirectly affected by climate change caused by humans in other urban areas.

National parks are starting to become huge tourist attractions. In 2010 I was in Chile and was able to Trek The National Park Torres Del Paine. Although the sites were incredible to see, the time spent in between the sites was filled with people hiking right beside you, camp sites were crowded and if you didn’t want to camp, you could stay in a Refugio which was basically a hostel located in the middle of nowhere. This is not nature. This is an Urban National Park.

The point I am trying to make is that the land that has been considered to be sacred is being lost with time. Land that used to be un-populated is no longer being left unchanged.

H.

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