Energy, Ecology and Environment

Cold environments can be challenging but they also have several developmental scopes that can help increasing the income and overall economic condition of the country. Below the ice can be found the immense treasure in the form of minerals and energy.

Energy

There is abundance of fossil fuels such as oil and gas hidden below the surface covered by ice. The Alaskan oil fields near Prudhoe Bay is known for extraction of oil which is set up by US government. But the problem is that these cold regions are very sensitive to change and the heat generated by the process of extraction is leading to melting down of ice in the area.

Mineral extraction

There is a scope of presence of immense amount of gold, silver, iron ore and other valuable metals under the surface. Many countries are making attempt to find ways to extract these valuable minerals. Russia is already working on this and have started exploiting these regions. The extreme climates of the region puts challenge and also maintenance of environment is of utmost importance.

Tourism

People from all over the world are increasingly coming to Antarctica. Tourism is one of the great source of income for people living in these areas or nearby regions.

Fishing

The coasts of cold environments are wide variety of species of fishes. Population of world is under food stress and fishes from this region can add to the stock of food and can be transported across the world.

Challenges of the cold environment

Cold environment are often related with landforms and hazards that are often breathtaking, yet it is their ecological frailty that is the most concerned subject. The valuable resources found in cold environments entice people all around the world so that they can exploit the region for their own good but any economic development brings with it the issues of management and environmental concerns and sustainable development.

Agriculture

Agriculture in this region is limited to short season (approx 90 days). The longer day length in this region is not as effective for cropping as plants do not adapt to long period of daylights. Even the drop of one degree temperature decreases the crop yield by almost 15 percent and of livestock by 30 percent. The quality of the soil is very poor as it is either blocked by permafrost or waterlogged due to melting of snow. However, there have been improvements in agriculture due to availability of inexpensive geothermal energy which has allowed agriculture in form of greenhouses supporting the cultivation of some tropical fruits. One such example is Iceland which is involved in this type of farming.

Sustainable way of life

Manageable indigenous ways of life.Cold situations have brutal atmospheres and are for the most part portrayed by tundra vegetation. However the indigenous people groups of polar and cold situations have lived maintainable, to a great extent subsistence lives for a long time. For instance, the Inuit in northern Canada and Greenland live a nomadic lifestyle and survive by fishing or hunting seals in the winters. The low population density makes it possible as their are enough resources for them to survive.

Extreme temperatures

Too cold conditions make it difficult for the developmental processes to be implemented efficiently. Further too long dark days make situations worse as daylight is not available in this region for months.

Relief

The tough to navigate terrain makes the development even more difficult as it hard even with vehicles to travel around.

Construction

The ground in the cold regions is not stable due to the presence of permafrost layer. As the layer melts, it become unstable making it vulnerable to landslides. The building need strong foundations which is not possible here.
Construction of roads, railways and pipelines is very difficult due to melting of snow.

Management of the risks in the cold environments

Cold regions have very fragile ecosystems and development makes them vulnerable to risks of damage and thus needs to be protected. It is important to maintain a balance between environment and ecological development. With the careful approach, this balance can achieved through proper strategies.

  • Minerals and fossil fuels can accessed with the use of technology but approach should be to avoid to the demolition of the wild life. Sustainable development is the best solution as it involves the use of technology setting the right balance with the environment.
  • Governments play an important role in maintaining the environment and encourage the use of technology responsibly. Laws ,rules and regulations can be made to control the activities of the people involved in the development process and to ensure that they don’t harm the environment. Further, these laws are associated with different international agreements to work on a large scale. These international agreements help in setting standard all over world and are followed by all the countries. Non-compliance can lead to heavy penalty in the form of heavy fines and imprisonment. One such treaty is Antarctica Treaty that is supported and recognised by fifty three countries all over the world.