Bird's eye view of climate change

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am
 

After kicking off the Climateers Ambassador Experiential Programme, green group WWF took its young Climateers to the Mai Po Nature Reserve.

In half-day field trips on January 22 and 23, the Climateers toured the reserve. They found out how climate change threatens the wetland habitat and got involved in its conservation.

They also learned about their carbon footprint and received some tips for low-carbon living.

Two Young Post Junior Reporters went on one of the field trips. Elaine Yu and Beatrice Yeung recount their experiences here.

Elaine Yu

Mai Po Inner Deep Bay is an over-wintering and refuelling station for thousands of birds. They include endangered species like the black-faced spoonbill and vulnerable ones like the Baikal Teal. The birds fly thousands of kilometres to escape the northern cold and spend their winters in Mai Po.

But climate change has created problems. As recently as 10 years ago, hundreds of gannets - a type of seabird that dives to catch fish - came to Mai Po each winter. But because temperatures here have risen, the gannets are over-wintering on the mainland instead. Now the number of gannets in Mai Po can be counted on one's fingers.

Fish in farms run by Yeung's Marine Products in Mai Po have been affected as well. Staff said some of the fish cannot endure the heat and jump out of the water. This is dreadful! They should not be suffering like this.

Everyone should do something to fight climate change. It is as simple as turning off the lights when not using them. Although climate change may not be 100 per cent related to our daily carbon emissions, a few easy steps can help create a better environment for our animal friends.

Beatrice Yeung

Climate change is the most pressing problem facing the earth today. The Mai Po wetland field trip gave me not only a first-hand look at the effects of this problem but also the chance to feel them. The heat is on, and climate change is affecting every aspect of the world's ecosystem.

The beautiful Mai Po Natural Reserve is located in an ecologically diverse wetland. We followed a trail that led to explorations of various topics, especially ones relating to migratory birds.

The tour's nature interpreter emphasised that climate change and instability caused by global warming are changing the migratory patterns of the birds. This affects their chances of survival.

Research shows that species are very sensitive to changes in climate and often may die out in their present habitat or be forced to move to new areas. This generally results in a decrease in population and even the extinction of the particular species, as adaptation can be challenging.

The Mai Po wetland field trip was a wake-up call for me. It opened my eyes to some effects of climate change that the world is already experiencing today. As the global climate changes, natural communities will be increasingly disrupted, and more populations and species will become extinct.

Climate change is an issue that has to be addressed right now.

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Bird's eye view of climate change

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