Year 2, Month 12, Day 23: The Menace From Earth

The Miami Herald notes a new report from NASA detailing ecosystem transformation in the wake of climate change:

Global warming could bring a major transformation for Earth’s plants and animals over the next century, a NASA study says, driving nearly half the planet’s forests, grasslands and other vegetation toward conversion into radically different ecosystems.

The ecological stress could give a boost to invasive species, but at the expense of natives, reducing the diversity of plants and animals overall.

And humans are likely, almost literally, to cut them off at the pass: When plants and animals attempt to survive by shifting their geographical ranges, as they have in past episodes of climate change, they’ll be blocked by farms and cities.

“If half the world is driven to change its vegetation cover, and meanwhile, we’ve fragmented the surface of the Earth by putting in parking lots and monoculture agricultural zones and all these other impediments to natural migration, then there could be problems,” said lead author Jon Bergengren, a global ecologist who was a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech when he did the study.

“When, suddenly, plants and animals aren’t living in habitats to which they’re adapted, then you start to get an unhealthy planet,” he said.

The comments on the article are a mass of stupid. Plus ca change…

Sent December 19:

Conservative politicians routinely ramp up their anti-immigrant rhetoric for the benefit of their xenophobic constituents. Curiously, however, they dismiss the extralegals most likely to cross America’s borders in a post-climate-change future.

Let’s leave aside the obvious fact that climate-driven resource wars and geopolitical instability are likely to lead to vastly increased numbers of refugees in the coming decades. Rather, let’s focus on the immigrant populations which will do the most damage to America: invasive species. Migrating from their customary ecological niches in response to rapid climatic shifts, these visitors will be part of a traumatic environmental transformation over the next century, rendering vast parts of the United States unrecognizable.

While disease-bearing insects, non-native plants and other such unwelcome visitors will have far greater economic impact on our nation than any undocumented human immigrants, you won’t hear any candidates for election mention them at all. I wonder why?

Warren Senders

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