Essay Cold Environments as Fragile Environments

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Cold Environments as Fragile Environments

Cold environments such as Western Antarctica (including peninsula) and Arctic tundra are extremely fragile, mainly due to the low temperatures severely limiting vegetation growth and thus any development will destroy the natural environment. Although this fragility of the environment has not deterred development despite the difficulty and cost of developing cold environments, this is due to human’s inability to look to the long-term effects of their actions.

Arctic tundra is described as a fragile environment as plant growth of mosses and lichens is restrict to only 2mm per year due to low temperatures only allowing growth to occur in the 3 summer months
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It is down to the ruthlessness of Western people and their desire for money that has destroyed the Alaskan tundra and thus the fragility has not really affected development. The presence of permafrost did not even deter America from extracting oil from Prudhoe Bay and therefore it is not surprising the fragility of the environment did not deter them.

The Alaskan environment is also fragile due to the high risk of earthquakes and volcanoes, which if were to cause the pipeline to burst, would destroy the environment yet development continued. Although the oil companies such as “Exxon” did research heavily into finding an ecologically sound way of transporting the oil, as it could not go underground as the permafrost would melt. This shows that fragility of the Alaskan tundra did affect development in terms that firms were more vigilant in trying to protect the landscape using a pipeline on stilts. It is my opinion that the fragility of Alaskan tundra and any arctic tundra should stop development, as it is clearly not sustainable but firms just see the profit made in the short term and do not realize the long term effects. This is a symptom of Westernization, individuals only see the short term effects of there actions not the long term and thus the possibility of the destruction of a beautiful landscape is not a problem.

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