Beavers fight climate change
With the increasing impact of climate change, humans are starting to rely on not only their own ingenuity but also on other animals.
One unlikely animal people are beginning to rely on is beavers. While their wood-cutting habits often cause homo sapiens to consider them targets of extermination, their wooden dams provide valuable cooling services that combat global warming.
Although beaver dams look a little different from piles of wood, they can cause significant changes to the local environment. They can expand rivers and create ponds, generating more habitats for local wildlife. Water helps absorb heat, so building dams and increasing the concentration of water in an area will help cool it down. Water can also cool down an area by evaporating: water takes heat with it when it turns into vapor.
Furthermore, dams can cause colder groundwater to rise toward the surface. By blocking flowing water, dams increase the force it exerts downwards, which helps push water down. This would then cause underground water to rise up, which further contributes to cooling down the environment. This is a game changer for temperature-sensitive ones such as salmon.
By engorging rivers and ponds, beavers can also reduce the spread of fires. Large bodies of water function as fire breaks, forming a blockade around wildfires. The plants around the water rarely catch on fire as well: wet plants are less likely to erupt in flames.
Currently, many people do not understand the importance of beavers. Senior Angel Ochoa says, “Beavers are fine. I like them because they’re cute and I like that they build dams. I don’t know what they do to the environment, but I hope it’s good because I want them to stay.”
Senior Jazmin Morenzi believes, “They have a small impact on the environment. Damming is problematic.” Morenzi adds, “It’s weird that people eat their tails. Did you know that? Like steak… I’m glad beavers aren’t a controversial topic.”
However, senior James Fan proves Morenzi’s last statement wrong. Fan comments, “I hate beavers. They have fat bushy tails and scrunched-up and ugly faces… They look disgusting.” When asked about how he feels about beavers nearly getting hunted to extinction, Fan replies, “I don’t care because if they’re extinct, we don’t lose much in the ecosystem. Beavers destroy the environment. Their grazing destroys the plants of their nearby habitat. Their dams disrupt the natural habitat and they squander resources from other animals to build their childish dams.”
Beavers do not need human help when it comes to slowing climate change. All humanity needs to do is avoid harming them: don’t feed the beavers, don’t wear beaver pelts, and don’t eat their tails.