Fateful degrees: ecology in the world, Russia, Leningrad region and personally

Table of contents:

Fateful degrees: ecology in the world, Russia, Leningrad region and personally
Fateful degrees: ecology in the world, Russia, Leningrad region and personally

In everyday reality, I want to completely immerse myself only in the tactical problems of daily bread. Climate change, coastline erosion, ever-increasing amounts of plastic waste, of course, exist somewhere. But it doesn't concern me personally. Many people think so, but not all.

At the end of August 2021, a press tour “Water and climate” took place. Literally and figuratively, the journalists on the bus managed to “take a ride” on current environmental issues using the example of reservoirs surrounding St. Petersburg. The team of experienced ecologists "Friends of the B altic" is led by Olga Senova.

But first things first. I will not bore the reader with all the information. I will go through only the most significant milestones: from the situation in the world to the Leningrad region.

Fragile tuning fork of ecology (associative photo of the author of the article)
Fragile tuning fork of ecology (associative photo of the author of the article)

Fateful two degrees: about the global

Climate changes throughout existencethe globe. And that's not a problem. At least, if we consider only what can be influenced as a problem … The problem is the influence of the human factor, which became especially noticeable with the advent of factories and industries.

At first everyone was happy (at least the owners of productions for sure). But then the world got faster and faster. There was a question of obtaining energy. And for this, fuel and wood were burned.

Supporters of the opinion “environmentalists are exaggerating” can recall that the natural gas exchange of carbon dioxide (which does not depend on humans in any way) is: about three hundred billion tons per year between the atmosphere and the oceans; and between the atmosphere and the terrestrial ecosystem more than four hundred billion a year.

And what does a person bring? About fifty billion tons per year (that is, less than one tenth of the total).

It's all true. But the natural balance is very fragile. And this man-made one-tenth may one day be the last straw.

Here's what's even more important: Accelerating climate change is most of all due to the burning of coal, oil and gas. As we remember, the inhabitants of the planet are not yet very “bothered” by the urgent replacement of fuel sources with more environmentally friendly ones. And from the "old" fuel huge greenhouse gas emissions. The higher the concentration of greenhouse gases, the stronger the effect. In simple terms: the temperature is rising.

Scientists propose to completely stop anthropogenic emissions by 2050. Then the temperature will not exceed plus two degrees (compared to the pre-industrial era). And it's not someidealized goals. Two degrees can be fatal and upset the delicate balance. Today, warming has already exceeded the mark of one degree.

Water area of the Gulf of Finland
Water area of the Gulf of Finland

The problem of fatal degrees in Russia

No matter how much people would like to close themselves within their countries and their economic problems, but in Russia, as well as throughout the world, climate change has affected all regions. There are no regions in Russia that are immune to the effects of climate change. I will give statistics from the materials of the “Friends of the B altic”:

“There is a problem of droughts in the Lower Volga region - they are predicted to be the main climate problem of the future. For Southern Siberia, forest fires will probably become the main problem. In the Amur region - floods caused by monsoon rains: monsoons will intensify. In Kamchatka - cyclones, showers and snowfalls, paralyzing all life. In the permafrost zone, which is approximately 60% of the territory of Russia, there are transport and infrastructure problems, an increase in the risk of destruction of everything and everything. It will be warmer in the Arctic, but more snowstorms and storms, problems with ice roads and crossings, great risks for Arctic ecosystems and species, including polar bears, walruses, and deer. In most regions, heat waves will be very bad for people's he alth, southern infections are also expected.”

Returning to daily bread issues: environmental vulnerability will directly cause economic vulnerability throughout the country (but especially in regions where coal, oil and gas are mined).

Let's move on from land problems to water ones. The most dramatic thing here is the destruction of the shores of the B altic and Barents Seas. From herefloods, flooding.

This is logical: fatal degrees shorten the ice season, storms occur more often. During the press tour, “Water and Climate” spoke about one of the likely forecasts: by 2100, the B altic Sea level is expected to rise to 90 centimeters. I will now turn directly to the issues of the Gulf of Finland. But since the article leads the reader from the global to the Russian side of the Gulf of Finland, everyone can understand: these are not only problems of the Gulf and the Leningrad Region.

The founder of "Friends of the B altic" Olga Senova personally told and showed everything
The founder of "Friends of the B altic" Olga Senova personally told and showed everything

Fateful degrees in the Gulf of Finland

In the bay, the ice sometimes doesn't harden enough until February. One of the animals that suffers the most from this is the B altic seal. These mammals can only have babies on hard ice. And this is just one example.

For example, the unpleasant word “eutrophication” promises even more problems: it means that fatal degrees will increase the growth and decay of aquatic plants and the reservoir will be less and less suitable for life. And this phenomenon occurs not only in the reservoirs of the Leningrad region. Another unpleasant bonus: an additional release of methane into the atmosphere from swampy reservoirs.

I will briefly go over the main issues that relate specifically to the Leningrad region:

a) More sea, less plastic

According to the Friends of the B altic monitoring data, the largest amount of pollution on the beach of Kanonersky Island.

On the sad top list of marine litter research in the Gulf of FinlandTopping the list are food packaging, cigarette butts and filters, and pieces of Styrofoam. Next come plastic bags, hygiene products.

If someone considers giant areas of garbage islands and dying flora and fauna to be far from themselves, then it is worth remembering the fatal degrees that one day may become the last straw; and that the elements of the sad rating in the form of microparticles will easily end up on the table, being forced into the food chain.

The single-use plastic directive has already come into force in the EU. Russia is just announcing amendments to Federal Law No. 89 “On production and consumption waste”, limiting the circulation of single-use plastic.

Each of us can vote with our wallet and buy goods, as they say, without extra plastic. Even if you are not an environmental activist and do not write letters to manufacturers with offers to participate in this: do what you can.

It is known that the higher the idea, the more the human consciousness grows. Isn't it one of the most beautiful ideas to give thanks to the house we all live in?

b) Shore breaking

Over the last decade in the Gulf of Finland, the shore “receded” by several tens of meters. The emergency sections of the coast of the Kurortny district make up slightly less than half of the total length of the coastline. There are especially many of them in the villages of Zelenogorsk and Komarovo.

One of the effective ways to strengthen is to create an artificial sand bank, which is fixed with special vegetation. In front of the beaches you can build breakwaters (parallel to the coast) orbuns (perpendicular).

An interesting experience was in the Novosibirsk reservoir. In 1959-1962, an artificial beach was created using fine and medium-grained sand alluvium. Its length was 3 kilometers, the width of the surface part was 30–40 meters, the underwater coastal slope was 120–150 m, and the slope was 2–3 degrees. For 25 years, the beach remained on its own, and only in the 80s it was additionally “filled up”.

c) Springs and wells

There are about a thousand springs in the Leningrad region. I think it is not necessary to explain that this is the main source of clean drinking water. And here the biggest problem is agricultural waste. In many sources, nitrate pollution can be several times higher than the legal limit.

Environmentalists measured indicators in some springs (territory of Bolshaya Izhora) right in the presence of journalists. Contrary to popular belief: nitrates cannot be removed by boiling. You can’t determine them “by eye and taste” either: only with the help of a special study.

This also includes the problem of well water: according to Rospotrebnadzor of the Leningrad Region, 10% of urban residents and 40% of rural residents of the Leningrad Region are not provided with high-quality drinking water. Rospotrebnadzor checks about 600 wells and some other sources of non-centralized water supply, in 15-20% of them excess nitrates are detected annually.

In the Russian Federation, springs are not included in the State Water Register and the system of state monitoring of surface waters, except for isolated cases.

Alexander Esipyonok,project coordinator "Friends of the B altic"
Alexander Esipyonok,project coordinator "Friends of the B altic"

Fatal degrees for everyone personally

The article talks about only the most basic issues that I and other journalists managed to dive into and see some examples with my own eyes. We also talked about pollution from toilets, about dams and floods, about the sad fate of the Karasta River (where oil waste has been getting for a long time), about many other things. All this was accompanied by examples: visual and research facts.

Each reservoir is a whole universe connected with the fate of people in specific settlements, and with the approaching fatal degrees of the entire planet.

A metaphor came to mind: the water system is so similar to the human lymphatic system. The fate of each reservoir can affect anywhere. It's good that there are such environmental organizations "Friends of the B altic" that conduct research not in the style of "everything is lost", but around the question of "what to do".

But it is also very important to realize the fragility of the environment for each of us. And it's not just loud talk about the future. This is our present. In addition, I repeat, the magnitude and scale of ideas that are important for a person determine his development. So personal participation is not an annoying “subbotnik”, but also an indicator of the level of personality of each of us.

Alexander Vodyanoy.