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Environmental Resources Management And The Aral Sea
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Environmental resources management has become a term of more and more importance over the last couple decades. And with good reason. Everybody wants to leave a healthy environment for those who come after…their kids and families. Plus, with the promotion of global warming and the virtual destruction of entire ecosystems promulgated by the poor usage or resources, more and more our culture is looking upon those with experience to help maintain and replenish all that has been stripped of our environment.
Why is Environmental Resources Management so important? There is a prominent case study of poor Environmental Resources Management that many in the business fall back on to illustrate how important it is to maintain the ecosystem around us and it involves the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest sea in the world. The Russian government, needing water resources to create flush fields out of desert land for cotton textiles and other crops, went about diverting water from the Aral Sea’s two feeder rivers, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, in order to enrich fields.
It took 50 years, but over that time, with little or no environmental resources management in place, the Aral Sea, which is actually considered a lake, has gone from the fourth largest sea in the world to a body of water barely worth sustaining.
Now, while being able to grow crops in once desert arid conditions is a positive, losing the use of the lake, which had long sustained fishing villages and other communities around it that required the waters for life, has been a devastating consequence. In the 2000’s the Soviet government took steps to save what they could of the Aral Sea, performing some emergency Environmental Resources Management. It’s a case study in what could have been because doing an Environmental Impact Assessment and following up with a solid plan for Environmental Resources Management could have not only brought richer lands to the desert but also saved the Aral Sea, the subsequent eco-system and the communities that depended on the lake for their survival.
We have to take the Aral Sea story with a grain of salt however, because, as was previously mentioned, Environmental Resources Management has become something of a buzz term in the current climate. While we still find oil spills and entire countries abusing the lands that they rely on for sustainability, there are dozens of cases where smart Environmental Resources Management has helped in both large and small ways to promote a healthier life for those that follow. Projects like the Rocky Reach Hydro Project in Washington that allows river fish to reach spanning grounds while still creating clean energy is a good example of well-thought out management practices along with plateaus of farm fields on the hills of western Iowa, which creates usable acreage and conserves water. These are just two of dozens that are currently in practice today. More are sure to come as the world places a higher and higher premium on maintaining what we have through Environmental Resources Management.
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