What is a Wetland?

“A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, carbon sink and shoreline stability. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life.

Wetlands occur naturally on every continent except Antarctica, the largest include the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, and the Pantanal in South America. The water found in wetlands can be freshwater, brackish, or saltwater. The main wetland types include swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens; and sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea.

The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment determined that environmental degradation is more prominent within wetland systems than any other ecosystem on Earth. International conservation efforts are being used in conjunction with the development of rapid assessment tools to inform people about wetland issues.

Constructed wetlands can be used to treat municipal and industrial wastewater as well as stormwater runoff. They may also play a role in water-sensitive urban design.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetland

The Best Places On Earth Ever!

Mother EARTH has outstanding places, incredible forests or the marvelous clear waters on the sea. We sometimes just do not believe this beautiful places exist, read on and find the location of these magnificent places.

Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (New Mexico)
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place in October every year and sees the skies of New Mexico being decorated with the sight of hundreds of hot air balloons. The Fiesta began in 1972 with the launch of 13 balloons from the parking lot of a shopping mall, but since then it has grown and grown into the biggest event of its kind in the world. The balloons now launch from the 365 acre Balloon Fiesta Park, and the event culminates with the coordinated launch of over 700 of them. It is the largest annual international event that is held in the United States, and a simply stunning sight to see. You’ll see balloons in all shapes and colors, featuring famous characters and artistic designs.
As well as the flights, there a numerous competitions that take place including the Fiesta challenge where balloonists drop markers onto targets, the Challenge Gas Balloon Race that sees special long distance balloons competing for total distance travelled, and the Flight of Nations Mass Ascension where balloonists from each country launch one at a time to the sound of their national anthems. Out of this entire list, this is the only one that I have been to as my parents live in Albuquerque. I definitely recommend going to see it!

Diwali Festival (Karnataka, India)
Diwali, or the festival of lights, is the most celebrated Hindu festival and takes place around October every year. The festival commemorates different stories from history depending on where it is being held. North Indians, for example, commemorate Lord Ram’s return after 14 years of exile and killing the demon King Ravan. Different states celebrate different legends during the festivities, but the overall theme is that of light triumphing over darkness.
Diwali is celebrated over 5 days through prayer and the release of various lanterns, fireworks, and anything that will light up the night. The festivities that take place in Karnataka in India are especially impressive because of the sheer scale of the lamps that are placed in every courtyard in the area and that are released into the sky.

Salar De Uyuni (Bolivia)
The Salar De Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat. Located in Southwest Bolivia, it covers an area of 4,086 square miles and was formed when several prehistoric lakes dried up. This has resulted in a salt crust that is several feet thick, and that is incredibly flat. The large expanse of glistening white salt provides views that you won’t see anywhere else in the world and is a truly unique experience.
While during the dry season these flats are a wonder to witness, the Salar De Uyuni really comes into its own during the rainy season in February. With a thin cover of water, the flats perfectly reflect the sky above, and it becomes impossible to determine where the sky ends and where the land begins. It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity to get some incredible images and is absolutely worth the long trip to get there.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (Taiwan)
Taiwan’s Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival takes place in February of each year. Originally designed to transmit military information, the lanterns began being used at the beginning of the spring planting season in Taiwan as a prayer for the upcoming year. They would write things like “May the harvests be bountiful” and “May a son soon be born” before releasing them into the sky so they could rise up to the ancestors to pray for blessings.
Today this tradition is observed across the island, where thousands and thousands of lanterns are released and light up the sky. It’s simply a stunning sight, and visitors travel from all around the world to witness it and take part, with everyone being encouraged to fly a lantern of their own.
As well as the floating lanterns, there are also lantern parades, which involve huge lanterns, some more than 30 feet tall and playing their own music, being walked through the streets. They usually depict the different animals of the Chinese Zodiac, as well as images of historical figures, birds, and images of them of that year’s celebrations.