J500 Media and the Environment

Methane Madness by meganr21

Every day some news story contains information on global warming and greenhouse gases – what they are, where they come from, and what their impact is. Despite all the coverage, people are still in the dark about many of the culprits of global warming. Let’s explore my favorite greenhouse gas and an offender responsible for it’s production. 

CH4 is a greenhouse gas most commonly called methane. When we hear the word methane, most people either think of natural gas, cows, global warming or it stinks. Termites aren’t even on the radar, yet some scientists believe that between 7-20% of the worlds methane emissions come from some species of these tiny insects.

 Just like in cows, methane in termites is a natural byproduct that is part of the normal digestion process. Plant matter like grasses and wood are hard to digest, so many animals have special bacteria in their guts to help break down food, the result – Methane.

While 60% of global methane emissions are thought to be a result of human activities, there are many natural sources that contribute to global warming as well. Besides termites, wetlands, oceans, the rain forest and soils are all natural sources of soils. 

So next time you’re listening to the news and someone is talking about global warming and greenhouse gases, ask yourself, ‘are they only talking about the most common human impacts or are they considering the natural contributions too?’ 

Megan Richards

Photo Credit: cartoonstock.com


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

That is amazing that such tiny creatures can produce 7-20% of the world’s methane gas. Question: Do people eat termites?

Comment by mackenzies09

Insects have a huge impact on our world and we don’t realize it most of the time because they’re so ‘small and insignificant’. As to your question, people do indeed eat termites (hopefully I’ll finish the bug-eating post this week)

Comment by meganr21

It’s crazy that little insects can cause this. But it’s different when thinking about cows and their methane, because the only reason there are so many of them packed into small places is because we want them there. The natural methane production of insects is vastly different from the kind and way methane is produced from cows.

Comment by amandat09

“The natural methane production of insects is vastly different from the kind and way methane is produced from cows.”

That sounds interesting. How is it different and is it different in regards of global warming?

Comment by Diane

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