When I first think of a Climate Change hero, the first name that comes to my mind is that of Greta Thunberg’s. However, in this article, I am focusing on some unlikely heroes, in our battle to combat global warming, drought, forest fires, and other Climate Change related conditions. Whether these heroes are rodents or pesky vegetation, many now see them as allies in our battle against Climate Change.
The ‘beaver’ (no not Theodore Cleaver from the TV show of the 50’s and 60’s) is one of the largest rodents, in the world. With its strong teeth and powerful jaws, the beaver topples tall trees with the precision of an electric saw. The beaver also has thick fur, webbed feet, and a flattened tail that makes it an aquatic architect with few rivals. All these tools allow the beaver to change the environment, in an effective way, to help battle Climate Change.
The beaver was close to extinction in the late 1800s due to decades of fur trapping and extermination. Beavers were prized for their fur and oils (used in perfumes and for medicinal purposes). Fortunately, protections began later in the 1800s and early 1900s that has allowed the beaver to make somewhat of a population comeback with current beaver population estimates of 10-15 million in North America.
Beavers affect the ecosystem in a positive way by building homes and dams that alter the flow of rivers and flood acres of land. This helps to prevent erosion, increase water levels (keeps the wetlands wet), improve vegetation, purify water, and keeps greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Previously, beavers were considered an abomination by farmers, but now there is more of a co-existence between the two. Beaver dams create ponds, slow water down, keeping it on the landscape longer by preventing run-off. This is ever more important to farmers, as they battle drought caused by a decrease in rainfall and an increase in temperatures.
So, the next time you hear someone mention a beaver, smile, and think about how this cute furry rodent has become a hero in our battle against Climate Change.
Another ally in the fight against Climate Change is clover. As mentioned in past articles, grass lawns are bad for the environment because they utilize large resources of water, require pesticides, and provide virtually no habitat for pollinators and other plants and animals that make up a healthy, diverse environment.
However, many homeowners are now welcoming clover lawns, as an alternative to purely grass lawns. Clover is very affordable and easy to grow. Once your lawn is seeded then clover can sprout in just a few days. It is more heat and drought tolerant than grass and therefore requires less watering, which means homeowners can save money, on their water bills. Clover attracts pollinators and creates a very good eco-system. Fertilizers are not required as clover captures nitrogen from the air and shares it with the soil.
Before deciding on a clover lawn though, you should read more on the subject, or talk to your landscaper, as clover lawns may not be right for every garden and environment. Overall, they do require less watering, no fertilizer, create a better overall eco-system, low maintenance, stays green longer, and chokes off most weeds.
Greta Thunberg is a hero we can all admire, and the beaver and clover are just two examples of nature helping us combat climate change, if humans don’t get in the way. Let’s think about how all of us can reduce our global footprint and fight Climate Change. Become an environmental advocate and help save the world like a superhero.