Green Bridges

After I-75 was built in northern Michigan, deer roadkill increased by 500%!

An important part to an ecosystem’s bio-diversity is its size and how it connects to the land around it. Highways can be one of the largest inhibitors an ecosystem’s bio-diversity. Often, a highway may run through an ecosystem, essentially splitting it into two pieces. This can cause severe injury to both people and animals, when the species stranded on one side needs to migrate to the other. Civil engineers realize how damaging this can be to an ecosystem, as well as, the safety of humans traveling along these highways. NASA even recognizes the importance of protecting wildlife even in the trajectory of their launches, demonstrated by their John F. Kennedy Roadkill Prevention Program.

Recently, civil engineers have made distinct efforts to lessen the strain these highways cause on the environment. For example, bridges can be covered in grasses, bushes, trees and other natural foliage to match the surrounding highways, which offers protection to many smaller animals.

These efforts have led us to some amazing innovations like the “Green Bridge”! Not only are these types of bridges, also, made from eco-friendly materials, but they enhance the migration of all living organisms. For example, birds, insects, and larger animals are able to cross highways safely. Projects like the “Green Bridge”, with adequate warning signs, do not enhance the risk of causing accidents. There are currently over 50 of these bridges today, and each one of them has successfully protected wildlife and reduced accidents. Currently, the majority of these bridges are in Europe and North America because of their woodsy landscapes.

Global Security

Environmental security is global security.

Global security assurances are not partisan issues. In fact, without the integrity of our ecosystem and biosphere all the life on this planet would face great issues. For example, rising sea levels in the next few decades could displace millions of people who live in New York’s marine counties.

If the scientists are right and temperatures continue to rise, we could face environmental, economic and national-security consequences far beyond our ability to imagine.

Senator John McCain on the Senate Floor in 2007

While long term change is harder to conceptualize on a daily basis, short term change is not as hard.

In October 2018, Hurricane Michael destroyed Tyndall Air Force Base. Tyndall Air Force Base is nestled in the pan handle of Florida and home to the F-22 Raptor. It was estimated that Hurricane Michael not only damaged several aircraft left at the base, but caused more than $8 Billion in damages.

The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. Hurricane intensity and rainfall are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.

National Climate Assessment

According to the National Climate Assessment’s projections, hurricanes will only become more frequent, more intense, and way more destructive. Clearly, the economic cost and national strategic loss of Tyndall Air Force Base is of greater concern than lots of insurgent attacks that take place around the world. Natural disasters have the power to impact more people.

Stayed tuned to more posts on our ocean waters, marine biology, and sea beds!