Most people do not think about noise pollution as a threat to ecosystems but in fact they can be. If animals cannot hear predators or if it creates an impediment to animal reproduction it will have a cascading effect down to plants if the behavior of herbivores is affected by a noisy environment.
Scientists have discovered that artificial noise levels were twice as loud as natural sounds in 63% of the parks and protected areas in the United States. Furthermore, this noise pollution reduces from 50 to 90% the zones where natural sounds such as birds singing or the sound of a river can be heard.
After all, if artificial noises intrude on our enjoyment of nature it will affect humans as well. The well known benefits of a walk in a park may not be as high and people might even be discouraged from going to such areas.
It seems that the worst noise pollutions come from roads, airplanes and human activities which are industrial in nature. The solution is simple; create shuttle services to some areas in order to discourage people from taking their cars, creating “silence zones” where visitors are encouraged to make less noise. And I suppose that even putting eventually a price tag that is sufficiently high could discourage people in the end.
I was amazed when I read an article about spring arriving earlier and earlier and being detrimental to birds trees and people. I was of the opinion that an early spring was good, at least good for humans. I see it around me with red-winged black birds having arrived last week, much earlier than before in the Montreal area.
It seems that the trend is to see life emerging from winter earlier and earlier. Leaves on average now appear 20 days earlier than before. Insects also appear much earlier as well as birds. But if it is too soon, and a cold snap re-appears then these insects will die compromising the survival of birds. It also means that long-distance birds can decline if they arrive at the wrong moment contrary to birds that have a short migration route. There is evidence that those birds who have a short migration route can sometimes halt their migration or even slow it down.
Humans can be affected by this warming trend as an early spring will affect the ground. An early snowmelt will dry out the ground earlier than usual which in turn can affect farmers and their crops, thereby raising prices for consumers. If forest dry out earlier in the year that means that the fire hazard will grow. A dry winter and an early spring greatly affected the Fort McMurray fires of last year.
We still do not know who will be the winners and losers of climate change, but it is possible that on balance we may have more losers than winners, and there will be a cost to this.
I am an avid photographer but I will admit that winter in the eastern part of North America is no picnic. The snow and the cold can be taxing and your perseverance and endurance is often tested, as well as your equipment of course.
Naturally when I am walking I always look if someone else has walked in the same area that I am walking. It is always easier to walk in the footsteps of another person as they make my walking far easier and of course I exert less energy. Even the animals of the wild will do the same thing. I often see foxes quickly running on paths made by men instead of wading through deep snow. But of course, if I walk in the same paths that others have opened for me I will probably see what they have seen and nothing more. One could also add that a sense of adventure would be missing in walking in the footsteps of others so at times I will eschew the easy path and will try to open a new path. I know that it will cost me more in time and energy but I always hope that in doing so I will be rewarded by seeing something that others have not seen. Often just this act of opening a different path leads me to new discoveries, as for example discovering birds called cedar waxwings eating berries perched in a tree. Had I stuck to the usual path I would not have seen them, a missed opportunity.
In our lives, we often do this, picking the easy road and letting others dictate our path. At times we are simply too lazy.
Perhaps we should be more adventurous and pick our own paths. We might have to exert ourselves more but at least it would be more interesting and of course, it will be our paths and not the paths of others. We would be following our own genius and no one else.