Wednesday, April 06, 2011

How will Climate Change affect our local biodiversity?


This question probably doesn’t galvanize many into action, and certainly not our local press.  Even though last year was the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, where the United Nations tried to focus the world on the catastrophic decline in animal and plant species around the world due to human interference, there was hardly a peep in our local media.  

This highlights a failure in our media because Climate Change is going to be happening everywhere.  It’s not only going to affect how many days you can snowboard over at the local ski resort, it’s going to affect the  crops you grow and probably the little critters that help and hinder your crop’s growth.  

It’s good to see a major news organization like the New York Times describe the nature of these studies related to Climate Change and biodiversity, but I suspect there should be a lot more than what’s mentioned. 

We barely have an understanding of how all the biotic mechanisms that quietly keep our environment going—all those little creatures and fungus that break down dead material and the teeny weenie microscopic nameless beings that make an environment work—let alone cataloging what creatures are already being affected by Climate Change.  

This is important because ignorance is not bliss, it’s delusional.  It would probably seem the very height of absurdity for someone to suggest that our government shell out billions to find out what the effect of Climate Change is and is going to be. 

With everything else off the table in these extreme budgetary times, even throwing out teachers to educate our children so they can have a fighting chance in our world, I bet few are sitting around thinking we should throw even more money at studies that might give us a fighting chance to have a sustainable life-style.  And, yet we should. 

There are still a lot of creatures out there making our environment a viable environment by keeping our air and water clean, keeping our crops alive, and all sorts of ‘invisible’ stuff we haven’t even evaluated before we began this vast experiment on our environment called ‘development.’ 

Maybe we should slow down and find out what the heck we are doing before we just assume that Climate Change is not worth bothering with. 

Multitude of Species Face Climate Threat - Over the past 540 million years, life on Earth has passed through five great mass extinctions. In each of those catastrophes, an estimated 75 percent or more of all species disappeared in a few million years or less. For decades, scientists have warned that humans may be ushering in a sixth mass extinction, and recently a group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, tested the hypothesis. They applied new statistical methods to a new generation of fossil databases. As they reported last month in the journal Nature, the current rate of extinctions is far above normal. If endangered species continue to disappear, we will indeed experience a sixth extinction, over just the next few centuries or millennia. (April 4, 2011) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

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