We recently took a day trip to some circa-1300s cliff dwellings nearby. The flyer telling the history of the place also offered up scientific musings on climate change that bolster my eye-roll attitude on the subject. Here’s a compilation of quotes from the brochure:
“In the 1100’s, population centers [in Arizona] approached their social and economic peaks as drought, plant and animal depletion and population growth pushed resource availability to critical levels. Around 1330, dramatic change occurred; the region became more arid, lowering water tables.The changing climate … severely impacted the ecosystem [as] competition for resources created stress among the villagers. In the late 1300s, resource depletion intensified, populations declined and catastrophic flooding destroyed [many] villages.”
Sounds like today, doesn’t it? For years I’ve said that the climate has always changed. There have always been wild variations whose timelines aren’t encompassed by our life spans or those of our immediate ancestors or descendants; or the Dust Bowl survivors. I’m the absolute opposite of a climatechange-denier, I’m a full-on believer. I just think that it shows a shocking amount of hubris to think that we have one damned thing to say about how it plays out.
Municipal water providers suck more and more from the groundwater and rivers which are fed by rain and snowmelt. Because of the destruction of natural rivers and lakes and the practice of housing city reservoirs underground to prevent evaporation, there is less moisture rising to fill the clouds and provide rain, so that cycle has been broken.
There you have it — about the extent,without figuring in air pollution, which is way above my pay grade — of manmade climate change. But, do you expect to see the cities in our country, which has under 5% of the world’s population, turn their water loose in the name of preserving the climate? Even if such a fantastical notion came to pass here, what are the odds that the other 95% of the world is going to follow our lead? Can you say zilch? Zero? Nada? And do you think Mother Nature gives a hoot what we the 5% do?
What we can influence to a much greater degree than climate change is plastic pollution in our 5% of the world.
About 10% of the plastic put into recycle bins actually gets recycled … 10%! Glass, steel and aluminum are endlessly recyclable as they don’t lose much of their viability in the process.
How have climate change and pollution gotten lumped in together as one cause? The ‘environmentalists’ you see climbing poles (with plastic water bottles in tow) to protest logging, landfills and whales flailing in plastic trash are more likely to be the urban dwellers who are responsible for the mess. Those of us out here in flyover country are trying to take care of that which supports us: clean air and water, forest and land management, maintaining healthy populations of the game we hunt, you know … the environment. It would be nice if we could keep the treehuggers from telling us how to do it.
Leslie Baker lives in Linden.