Mountain Gorilla and Climate Change

By Sofia Lindauer

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Science Behind Climate Change

There's a very negative stigma around greenhouse gasses. They are though of as a bad thing but in reality, we need greenhouse gasses to keep warm at all. The greenhouse effect is when the sun shines on the earth and the light and heat energy get trapped by natural greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. This is a good thing that allows life to exist on earth, but the human-enhanced greenhouse gasses intensify the greenhouse effect and traps too much heat in our atmosphere. This causes the general climate on the planet to rise.


Results of Climate Change


Climate change is clearly causing places to be less inhabitable for people and animals. This can be seen in the droughts in southern Oregon and California, and people are moving away to escape this inconvenience and discomfort. This is because when there isn't enough water, the plants start to die, so the animals start to leave, so the humans are left with little food or water and so of course they leave. This emigration could lead to refugee crises and mass immigration problems in other countries that can't afford us. You have probably heard all about global warming affecting the polar ice caps. After 12,000 years of stability, Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf collapsed in 2002. This caused sea levels to rise by a dangerous three meters but the Eastern Ice Sheet melting would cause sea levels to rise by 60 meters. In 2006, scientists predicted the Arctic would see its first sea ice free summer in 50-70 years , but now they say that it could happen by 2052. Climate change also raises the disease levels for several different reasons. If human kind doesn't make a change we will have huge issues but even those who believe that it exists at all, don't often take it seriously enough to change their ways.


The Mountain Gorilla


Mountain Gorilla's diet consists mainly of leaves and partially of roots, bugs and fruit, but there is already very little fruit because of the high elevation. The leafy forests where they live provide a good amount of leaves for the gorillas. Moutain gorillas may be at threat because of climate change, but their biggest threat is still humanity because of poaching, habitat destruction, pollution, and commercial activities.

There is a very small population of mountain gorillas and they continue to have low reproductive rates. There is also a very small amount of genetic variation within mountain gorillas so that limits their ability to adapt. They don't require a lot of freshwater but are susceptible to human disease so contaminated water would definitely cause huge problems with the already small population.


Climate Change's Effect on Mountain Gorillas


Climate change has caused forest fires and hurricanes, both of which would totally destroy a forest where mountain gorillas live. While the gorillas themselves are resistant to a wide range of temperatures, the plants that they rely on may not be. Soil can also be affected by climate change. If the plants affected by climate change can't adapt fast enough, they may be left behind and die out causing famine among the gorillas.

Because gorillas are susceptible to human illness, and global warming raises disease levels, the number of diseased gorillas could exponentially increase and even kill off the gorillas. The destruction of their habitat, their food, and their health is enough to say that it is time to start recognizing the real issue of climate change and stop treating the people who try to talk about it like stupid, judgemental hippies.

Sofia Lindauer