Grand Canyon exemplifies need to conserve national parks, ecosystems

The older I become, the more land I have witnessed being destroyed in the name of industry – especially commercial building. Over half of the undeveloped areas in my hometown are scenery, with not really enough land to develop into anything substantial. However, developers tear it up in hopes of building something commercial.

More than a few times, these projects have failed and left behind unused ugly buildings, concrete and pollution. Such pollution is also part of the pollution in our air, water and soil. Not only does this pollution affect our health as humans, it also affects the health of our ecosystem and natural parks. One such natural park is the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon has a special place in my heart because of the fond memories I have of when my family and I vacationed there years ago. The wildlife and scenic views were breathtaking. Although I was young when we went, it made me realize how small I was compared to the rest of the world. We hiked, rode horses along trails and saw so many interesting plants and animals, including desert bighorn sheep. We interacted with Native American tribes, saw their old homes in the Canyons and bought homemade Indian goods. I remember our tour guide saying that because of pollution and resultant climate change, the Grand Canyon was suffering. I may have been too young to understand then, but I understand now.

Research shows that there is beginning to be and will be a significant loss of plant and animal species because of pollution and climate change. These include the desert bighorn sheep that I saw in the Grand Canyon, which are now at risk for extinction. Any springs, seeps and runoff may completely dry up because of the climate change, causing the southwest to be drier. This will cause a heavy spreading out of exotic plant and fish species. More wildfires will occur because of the water supplies drying up and the resultant loss of vegetation. All of these also affect the Native American communities living in the Canyon. They will eventually lose their homes, livelihood and past-time.

The Grand Canyon is a special place that everyone should have the option to see if they have the opportunity. My future grandchildren, maybe even children, will be lucky if they are able to enjoy or even experience the same vegetation, wildlife and Native American culture I did when visiting the Grand Canyon, all because of over-developing and increasing climate change due to pollution in air, soil and water If something is not done, there will be much less preserved of or left in the Grand Canyon someday in the future.