Posted by: Vicki Burns | July 6, 2012

Blue-Green Algae Blooms, Global Warming and Australia’s Proactive Approach

Over the past few weeks I’ve been keeping a lookout for news of blue-green algae blooms around North America and other parts of the world. In the US there have been numerous reports of algae blooms much earlier in the season than normal, likely due to the excessive heat. The states of Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New York and Massachusetts have all issued various warnings to the public about lakes that have blue-green algae blooms and the caution members of the public should take when near those lakes. Some are going as far as closing the lakes to any public use which is taking a big toll on businesses in the area.

Blue-green algae Lake Winnipeg 2012

Today, I was very interested to see this article from the European Commission linking rising temperatures to more algae blooms. Researchers from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have shown that for  the Baltic ecosystem, rising temperature plays a role in fostering the addition of the nutrients that feed the algae blooms and they predict that a continued rise in temperature will only make the problem worse.

I was heartened to learn that Australia has just brought into being a carbon tax to try to use cost as a factor in decreasing the country’s dependency on fossil fuels. It’s a very controversial move because some of the public are not convinced that it is necessary but I think the Australian government is demonstrating the kind of courageous leadership we need in order to make any significant progress in slowing global warming. The ramifications of our planet heating up are all around us, more violent storms, more flooding, increased drought and as some research is showing , increased toxic algae blooms fouling our waters. There are so many good reasons to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and move towards renewable energy, its encouraging to see Australia taking action. I hope Canada will follow their lead.

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