Today’s post is prompted by a New York Times article entitled “Climate Threatens Species at Every Altitude.” It opens with a photo of the long-tailed willow bird, which it says was once far more common but is now threatened. Without looking into it, I’m guessing that the usual suspects like invasive species and human development are more to blame than climate change so far…but climate change is just getting started and is going to get much, much worse. From the article:” “It’s a really simple story that at some point you can’t go further north or higher up, so there’s no doubt that species will go extinct,” said Walter Jetz, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale…”
Not far from here, in the Sierra, we’re already seeing substantial effects from climate change: “Last year, new research in the journal Ecological Applications and elsewhere showed that the pika, a thick-furred, rabbitlike animal that takes refuge from the sun in piles of stones, was moving upslope at about 160 yards a decade and that in the past decade it had experienced a fivefold rise in local extinctions, the term used when a local population forever disappears.”]]>
Sadly, but all too predictably, lots of people don’t like the new policy. “They have been showing up to games wearing T-shirts that disparage the policy, and occasionally voicing their displeasure from the stands.”
Here’s a quote that really gets me: “They chose the bird over our keiki,” [parent Rich Rapozo] said after a Saturday game, using the Hawaiian word for children. Hey, listen Rich: nobody chose to kill your children instead of killing birds, OK?]]>
You know, I’m used to the idea of one side losing and the other side winning, and all too often it’s the environment that is on the losing side. In this case it’s even worse, both sides lose. The Army Corps of Engineers really needs to reverse this decision.]]>
And then last night I read an article about overfishing. The article implies that it’s only recently been realized that fish populations everywhere are declining, the catch in almost all established fisheries is declining in spite of more sophisticated fishing gear, and that many former “staple” species, like North Atlantic cod, have been reduced to economic and ecological irrelevance. Actually those facts were recognized by a lot of people years ago — for instance, the book “The Empty Ocean” came out in 2003 — but perhaps the article is right that they’re not widely known by the public.
And the San Francisco Board of Supervisors just approved an enormously expensive bridge right through a wetlands that Golden Gate Audubon has been restoring, to save 2 minutes of travel time for a small number of drivers.
And, of course, there’s the oil disaster in the Gulf, the failure of any climate bill in the Senate this year…it’s been a depressing couple of days of news.]]>