How do human factors make cold environments vulnerable? case study- oil industry in Alaska

case study for how humans can make a cold environment more fragile and vulnerable

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Oil spills

  • long lasting effect on environment (30 years)
  • unsustainable resource exploitation
  • causes damage to wildlife- birds wings stick together so they can't fly to escape predators or find food
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oil pipelines disrupt migration

  • caribou migration paths blocked (TAP's- Trans alaskan pipeline) reducing numbers as they are unable to reach food or breeding sites
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gravel extraction

  • removing gravel from rivers has damaging effects on fish populations and aquatic environments
  • used in construction of roads and buildings as a insulating layer to stop permafrost thaw
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No sanitary landfill area

  • sewage pollutes environment due to increasing urbanisation (7,500 workers)
  • increased number of buildings generates heat which melts permafrost leading to thermokarst layer
  • no sewage system- organic decomposition slow due to cold temperatures
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landfill from human waste

  • attracts predators like ravens gulls and arctic foxes who prey on nesting birds, which disrupts food chain so animlas further down food chain suffer from reduced numbers
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