carbon emissions, Conservation, Environmental Hazards, Nature

Fixing Rivers Can Release Greenhouse Gases

Colorado River in Arizona
Efforts to “rewet” the Colorado River have led to a slight increase in carbon emissions–but it might be worth it in the long run.
Image: Shutterstock

The Colorado River isn’t what it used to be. Because it is so important to so many communities, it has been tinkered with for years. The Hoover Dam and others like it along the Colorado River have resulted in river water rarely reaching the ocean. The Colorado River now has a dry delta, and where once there were healthy wetlands, they’ve been reduced to about 5% of their original size. Invasive plant species have replaced many native species, which has reduced biodiversity and negatively impacts the ecosystem.

That’s why the federal government released 130 million cubic meters of water (about 52,000 Olympic swimming pools) into the river basin in order to kick start the river again. That’s still only about 1% of the total water that used to flow down the Colorado. The goal is to get wetlands and river ecosystems back in action and to provide more water for agriculture and other uses. This kind of flooding is a useful tactic that has been used elsewhere.

But researchers attached to the project learned something new about this process: wetting dry riverbeds in this way releases a great deal of carbon and other greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been stored in the ground. Some of it thousands of years old. These gases are released into the water and, presumably, into the atmosphere as well. Water is an excellent system for trapping such gases, but it can only hold so much. Too much carbon in water makes it acidic, which is bad for wildlife.

Overall, though, the researchers are confident that the benefits of rewetting the riverbed outweigh this potential downside. One such benefit is the fact that rewetting the riverbed can lead to a flourishing of indigenous plants, which are better at trapping carbon than invasive species. That new growth in and of itself may offset the additional release of greenhouse gases.

Business, carbon emissions, Climate Change, Eco-friendly, Green, Sustainability

Why We Need Companies like Resource Environmental Solutions

Every company is in it for a profit, but not every company believes that doing good for the world is profitable—or possible. However, companies like Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) are making a difference in the ways businesses give back to their communities, making the world a better place.

RES is the largest and fastest-growing provider of ecological solutions to businesses in the country, helping more companies incorporate a commitment to ESG into their business practices.

RES offers commercial solutions that help companies mitigate risk from operations in environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands and preserved habitats. The company can provide impact analyses for development projects, streamline the regulatory permissions process, and assist in the creation and implementation of conservation and restoration practices. RES has helped with ecological restoration all across the United States.

Private equity firm KKR recently invested in RES. Ken Mehlman, KKR’s Global Head of Public Affairs, said, “This investment builds on our efforts to create value by improving environmental impacts at KKR portfolio companies and also by investing more than $5 billion in companies whose missions are to improve the environment, build human capital, promote health, and solve societal problems.”

Without companies like RES, corporations might continue to harm the environment, building in sensitive areas without regard for what could be lost. ESG needs to be recognized for the essential element of business it is: the world will only be saved if companies can make a profit from it, so there is no other option than to marry business with ethical practices. Research indicates that consumers are more willing to buy from companies they believe follow ethical practices and help sustainable causes, too.

If more companies provide ecological solutions like RES, or if businesses create solutions that allow other sectors to be more environmentally and socially responsible, corporations will have no choice but to participate ethically if they want to make a profit. Easy access to ESG practices will encourage companies to implement them. And the more companies that adhere to ESG practices, the better the world will be.