We hear a lot about the effects of climate change and pollution, and most often the news isn’t good. Well, this story might cheer you up! In the 1990s, a group of scientists from Boston University saw something interesting in some satellite pictures of Earth. They saw increased vegetative patches, contributing to what they called the “greening phenomenon.” Intrigued, the scientists started to track this phenomenon, curious to learn where exactly the greenery was increasing or decreasing. The results of the study, recently published this past February, revealed some rather startling facts. Compared to twenty years ago, Earth is now a bit greener in certain areas! The best part? The greening in these regions wasn’t due to natural changes but instead to human activity. Sure—we raised our eyebrows too. But scientists involved in the study shared how human activity is actually helping to green the planet sometimes. First, conservation efforts do work! In fact, intense conservation efforts in forest areas in China played a big part in the overall greening trend. Second, even though heavily populated areas mean fewer trees, there’s another side effect to crowded areas: increased agricultural activity (to help feed the population). We’re not saying that Earth has all of its problems solved, but one thing is clear: When humans are determined, they can definitely make a difference in helping to conserve and protect our planet!
March 8, 2019