What is Environmental Legacy?
When it comes to leaving things behind when a person dies, there’s something that’s often overlooked. To some people, it’s more important than finance and just as important as a person’s estate. These days, it’s referred to as a person’s legacy. This legacy can consist of anything, from their reputation in life, to their surname that will be carried down from generation to generation. It’s this legacy that provides information on the person; who they were, what they did in life and so on.
Environmental legacy works in much the same way. It refers to the legacy of an environment, including activity, processes and other important details in order for people researching this legacy to understand the environment being discussed. An environmental legacy could consist of information on a period of history , 1500 A.D. for example, detailing the appearance, activity and general occurrences that were taking place in that particular environment, as well as how it affected the things around it.
This legacy would then provide anyone interested, with coherent information on that environment, so that they could compare those results with current results, or investigate the environment or climate further. The word environment doesn’t have to refer to a natural location; it could refer to the area surrounding an industrial site, a city centre or even a football stadium.
The purpose of this environmental legacy is to identify all of the factors associated with a particular area, therefore identifying its previous or current activity, giving an idea of what it does to the environment; otherwise known as its legacy. This means that an environmental legacy could be taking place as we speak, being developed on a specific location, so that this location could be better understood, particularly regarding its affect on the environment.
Different countries are comprised of different regions. Certain countries will have a large land mass consisting of deserts, others will have even bigger areas made up of forests. It’s only by exploring these particular locations that we can begin to understand their environmental legacy; how much C02 do they emit? Are they using solar energy or traditional electricity? Is their carbon footprint any less now than it was a decade ago?
It’s these pieces of information that define an environmental legacy and because of this, they are extremely useful in the fields of research, geology and science. Many leading professionals will often rely on a location’s environmental legacy in the hopes of better understanding what it was in, where it is now and where it can be expected to be.
Once these results have been carefully collated, an organization will have all of the materials readily available to create a theory on that particular area. As they do so, they will technically be adding to the environmental legacy of the area, providing new research, data and results as things progress. It’s this ability to constantly update a legacy that makes them so useful to all sorts of industries, especially if they are trying to identify a few key factors about an area in particular.
So what can you do on a personal level to help reduce your impact on the environment and minimize your impact footprint on the environment? Firstly, think about your consumption habits. Do you really need every bright new shiny product or are you just being persuaded by marketing? Is the product you are buying easily recycled? Look for new products on the market which have the latest ratings for the effect they have on reducing your carbon footprint – you will be surprised at what you can find, for example the best electronic cigarettes can reduce the carbon footprint of conventional cigarettes. As stated at www.learn.com “For many years, the harmful effects of smoking tobacco, or analog cigarettes, were an acknowledged and inevitable consequence. But recently, the innovation of the electric cigarette gave smokers a healthier option, and has claimed to be more environmentally friendly product.” And moreover:
A recent study by Freakonomics.com found that smokers produce 84,878 tons of air pollution every year, a number equal to half of the pollution put out by all cars in the U.S.
The pollutants we are talking about here instigate more harm than just the smoky haze seen over large cities, but are known poisonous compounds—ammonia, acetone, arsenic, formaldehyde, tar, and carbon monoxide, to name a few. These disease-causing chemicals released by analog cigarettes not only threaten the environment, but human health through secondhand smoke.
In contrast, electric cigarettes do not release secondhand smoke chemicals into the atmosphere. Through the vaporizing of liquid nicotine, e-cigs release nicotine gas, water, and propylene glycol (PG). Water and nicotine, obviously, are naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere, and PG is an organic compound and primarily composed of carbon, another naturally found biological chemical.”
And this is just one product, think of everything you buy, make a list – and see if you can find an environmentally friendly alternative. Soon it will all add up.
We’re not just about Dinosaurs here, we also care about our environment and its biodiversity. The Jump-Up is an extraordinary place for flora and fauna, all specially adapted to this harsh and arid environment.
The Council of Australian Museum Directors funded our new Dinosaurs to Dunnarts project to build a comprehensive database of the diverse flora and fauna of The Jump-Up. Due to launch early November, Dinosaurs to Dunnarts will allow visitors to directly contribute by sending us their favorite photos of the plants, animals and views they take while on the Jump-Up. We’ll send them onto our team of specialists for identification and comment. Simple, fun and another way to get involved in the science out here! Here’s a sneak peak of some photos we have already:
A female Gilberts Dragon searching for a suitable place to lay her eggs. These little reptiles are inquistive and extremely fast, so capturing this lizard was certainly a cool moment. She was very busy digging this hole and soon posed for the camera’s.
The gorgeous landscapes are breathetaking and this Western Ghost Gum found the perfect spot to grow, right in a waterhole! Most of the trees up here are stunted due to lack of water and nutrients. The root systems follow cracks in the rock to find what they need to survive this arid area.
This is the beginning of a notorious succulent plant called ‘Mistletoe’. It grows a beautiful little red flower, and it’s not the kissing kind of Mistletoe, this one will unfortunately kill the tree it was deposited in. A little bird called the ‘Mistletoe Bird’ is the culprit for spreading these succulents around the place.
Well that’s a little idea about the new project. To see some more great photos, please check out our Dinosaurs to Dunnarts webpage
How Can Environmental Legacy Assist With Research?
Environmental legacy isn’t just a topic that can be taken as opinion, it is based on hard facts, continued investigation and extensive study. Only by developing an environmental legacy on a region can we hope to understand its role in the world, including how it affects areas around it and what it could provide. These details include information on environmental degradation, such as when forests are destroyed in favor of building sites, or land masses divided due to earthquakes or other natural events.
It’s this legacy that acts as a staple for research and study, being an ideal volume of information that covers even the most minute of details about an environment. The purpose of the legacy is to serve and inform. It will provide the necessary information on a specific habitat, including temperatures, policies, laws and by-laws, in the hopes of conserving the location for future generations.
Most environmental legacies will revolve around natural locations, from river lands and estuary systems, to huge forests and fields. By calculating the inner workings of an environment, the results will then allow a researcher to accurately identify any positive or negative factors about the area itself.
Imagine that fifteen acres of a specific part of Australia was comprised of dense rain forest, harsh swamp land and very few homes. The specific details, such as rainfall, electrical usage and general energy consumption could then be calculated, with these results being available for comparison so that a researcher could better understand the role that this specific region plays within the entire country, the continent and then the world.
Without these legacies, it would be very hard to try to determine what a particular region does, how it affects the environment around it and what can be expected of it in the future. The region may be protected by conservation policies, or it could be considered a natural wilderness and readily available to be explored and harvested by anyone.
In either event, an environmental legacy could clearly define each aspect of that particular location, so that future generations could hope to understand the area, as well as being able to refer to that specific environment in its previous state. If there were trees in that fifteen acre area, fifty years ago for example and there aren’t any more, then logic would suggest that something caused those trees to disappear.
With an environmental legacy, new policies can be developed, with laws protecting parts of that environment from human interference, other by-laws stating that further conservation is permitted and then any other details that the researcher feels necessary to include within their thesis.
Without a clear understanding of our environment and the places around the world, it’s only logical that the expansion of mankind would eventually lead to the eventual destruction of particular regions; as homes will be required, schools built and so on. A legacy could dictate that particular areas are key to the environment and therefore exempt from any interference, dictating that a natural pattern of growth should be permitted in the future.