Year 3, Month 4, Day 19: Too Soon Old And Too Late Smart

The Peoria (IL) Journal-Star discusses a recent study by scientists from Arizona, on the impact of climate change on the “corn belt.” Hmmm…not so encouraging:


The Corn Belt may be in trouble as the planet gets warmer, according to a decadelong research effort on climate change.

The study, published this week by a team at Northern Arizona University, shows that plants may thrive in the early stages of a warming environment but begin to deteriorate quickly.

Researchers found that long-term warming resulted in the loss of native species and encroachment of species typical of warmer environments, pushing the plant community toward less productive species, said Bruce Hungate, a Northern Arizona professor and a senior author of the study.

“Ecosystems have feedbacks. The initial response might not be the long term one,” he said.

Squirrel! Sent April 10:

The key word in any discussion of the Northern Arizona University study of plant survival in a transformed climate is “long-term.” For the past century, our civilization has steadily lost the ability to imagine a future more than a few years away. With the support of a complaisant media, our civilization has built a 24-hour news cycle and a fashion-driven consumer economy that is entirely dependent on the predictability and dependability of our food supply. Since scientists’ predictions have consistently underestimated the severity of climate change, it’s a fair bet that our agricultural infrastructure is far more vulnerable than any of us ever believed.

With enormous industrialized monocropping, we have accomplished prodigies of predictability and productivity — but lost our ability to think in the long temporal cycles that governed agriculture until the advent of chemical fertilizers and giant factory farms. To survive and prosper in the coming centuries, our species must reclaim this wisdom before it’s too late.

Warren Senders

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