Monday, December 24, 2007

Watching for Local Signs of Climate Change:

This is probably a non-story for environmental news, but something I’m going to be watching over the years. One of the many predictions about how Global Warming will affect the Northeast is a change in some flora of our area, which will affect some business, and the production of maple syrup may be one of those. (Maple syrup shortage taps wallets - Prices are up after poor spring weather kept production down— If you'll be giving or serving New York maple syrup this holiday season, you probably paid more for it this year. A combination of consumer demand and a supply shortage have boosted prices 10 percent to 20 percent at many area retailers. (December 24, 2007) Democrat & Chronicle)

I’m hesitant to post this remark, because many view environmentalists as ‘alarmists,’ which of course we are—and must be. One of the most important roles for environmentalists, I believe, is to use their reason, education, observations, interactions with others and the environment, to foresee possible positive and negative trends in our environment.

Sadly, it has evolved that it is the trend of business to set the bar of environmental concern very high (in some cases absolute scientific proof) before determining whether or not something constitutes a danger. The problem is that with environmental degradation, long before something can be proven to the satisfaction of all, that bar will make it impossible to solve environmental problems, as many are irreversible.

On this note, I’m reading an interesting book “A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations” by Clive Ponting. I suggest all read it because it provide a long sweeping view of history in terms of how mankind has affected our environment and in many cased doomed their civilization. I cannot help if this seems depressing to some, but hiding ones head in sand in these extraordinary times is the mark of a species heading for extinction.

Anyway, there are a host of possible ramification of Global Warming for our area that a prudent species should keep their eyes on: temperatures rising, a migration of plants and animals north as our climate adopts a Southern visage (though, most ((especially plants)) won’t move quickly enough), droughts, change in precipitation, lowering of Great Lakes water levels, coastal flooding, sea-level rise, shore-line change, extreme heat in our cities, more diseases (like Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and maybe malaria) and more potent cases of poison ivy, air quality loss, agriculture changes, changes in the fisheries, changes in the dairy industry, changes in spruce/fir forest of the Adirondacks, alterations in winter recreation (did you know the NYS has “more ski areas than any other state in the nation”?), and an increase in ozone pollution."

1 comment:

dan said...

readers can get a quick peak at the Ponting book from 1993, !, here, above.

Wikipedia also has a good bio of him.

In regard to your post, is there a reporter at your local newspaper there who covers global warming issues and do you think he or she might be interested one day in the concept of polar cities? My guess is no, but I want to try to contact him or her. Do you know his email address?