Weber State University hosted the Fourth Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit on Feb. 28, 2013.
Craig Thompson from Western Wyoming Community College led a session on “Melting Glaciers and Headwaters Sustainability.”
“Ice essentially acts as a giant heat buffer,” says Thompson.
Not only does it take a lot of energy to have ice go from its solid state to water, ice and snow cover reflect the sun’s heat back into the solar system. As the ice and snow melt, the rate of climate change accelerates.
Glaciers act like reservoirs, and as we lose them, we also lose the water that they have stored.
“Water supply is unpredictable,” says Thompson.
The Colorado River Compact was negotiated at a time when water supply was high. That hasn’t been the case since.
“The basin is overallocated,” says Thompson. “We have to not only renegotiate but start living in our means.”
Sustainability within the Colorado Basin needs to be defined annual an in accordance with the actual water supplies from nature.
“(Sustainability)’s not taking more from nature than nature can provide,” says Thompson.
Some of his students have said that sustainability is meeting one generation’s needs without compromising the needs of the next generation.