How Climate Change Affects Vacation Priorities


So, when the climate change poop hits the fan, who is going to be in for the worst ride? What parts of the world should I vacation at now because they will be uninhabitable in the future? Exactly where will be the safest place for the gringa and the caveman to diddle away their golden years?

Well, we better get busy and visit all the beach hotspots that are alive and kicking right now. With sea levels rising, the coastal cabanas of today will be reef material tomorrow. And, considering that climate change creates erratic and extreme weather patterns such as: heavy rain here, drought there, devastating tornadoes everywhere; well, there is no uniform model of what’s going to change where or when. The only concrete expectation right now is what models predict about low elevation islands and coastal beachlands. They are pretty much going to be history, some maybe within my lifetime.

Other areas scientists expect to change dramatically are regions that have a delicate ecosystem balance and are already experiencing hyper-sensitivity to environmental stressors. These areas include:

  • Arctic, specifically the tundra region
  • Boreal forest belt – This is the conifer forest that stretches across North America, particularly dense in the Pacific Northwest
  • Tropical Rainforest
  • Alpine regions
  • Steppes of Asia and the Americas
  • Prairies of Asia and the Americas
  • Deciduous forests of South America and Australia

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth. The permafrost layer is melting. Glaciers are getting smaller and sea ice is disintegrating. The wildlife of the Arctic will probably be a loss to the world. They depend on a habitat that is going to grow too warm to support their needs. The indigenous people of this region will experience a loss of their culture that is strongly dependent on the wildlife and natural geography. The humans will have the adaptation advantage that the wildlife and fauna do not have. But the loss of their culture is still something to mourn over.

The boreal forests of North America are important carbon sponges for the earth. What will a degree or two warmer mean? As temperatures warm the center of the United States, the boreal forest will shift northward. Predictive models sees the United States losing its boreal forest as it relocates to Canada and Alaska. So, we won’t lose them, they will relocate. That’s good news in the aspect that at least the Earth will retain a critical carbon filter.

Researchers in tropical rainforests mark trees and track them for years, measuring them to see how they are responding to climate change. A group in the Bolivian Andes are studying a swath of diverse trees and plants that thrive in a limited temperature range. As temperatures rise, so do the trees. New, baby trees are growing uphill. Just as the North American model predicted a forest migration, the same is expected of the tropical rainforests. They will abandon the lowland jungle regions and migrate up the mountainsides, seeking cooler temperatures.

Alpine regions are going to experience the same forest creeping phenomena. As glaciers continue to recede, alpine plants will continue to move upwards looking for cooler temperatures and water. However, eventually, when all the glacier water has melted and run off or evaporated, this critical component of the annual water budget will be gone forever. Plants and trees dependent upon it will eventually be extinct. So Alpine ecosystems will not only migrate, they will migrate to a slow death.

The upside of forest migration is that the Earth is trying to compensate and save herself. The downside is that the migration process is slower than the warming process. This means there will still be catastrophic loss of tropical rainforest and alpine habitat. This will affect the wildlife dependent on these ecosystems as well as their indigenous people.

Experts predict the possibility of losing over half of the steppe habitats due to the effects of climate change. They are not modeling a migration of fauna, but a loss. Steppes are critical grazing areas. As the steppes experience habitat loss, growing smaller, overgrazing occurs on the remaining areas. The effects then are coupled: climate change related drought and overgrazing. Things look dire for the future of the steppes and the animals and shepherds and ranchers who depend on them. The steppes could become the Earth’s future Sahara’s.

Unlike a conifer boreal forest or tropical rainforest that are green year round, a deciduous forest becomes barren in the winter season as the trees lose their leaves. Deciduous forests exist in tropical and temperate climates. Climate change models predict warmer winters affecting deciduous forests. This could lead to tree loss from pests and disease. In regions where devastating drought occurs, there will be higher tree loss. When a tree dies in the forest it also becomes fuel. In regions experiencing drought related tree loss, the dry conditions and increased fuel of more dead trees makes conditions ripe for voracious wildfires. So, if the drought or the bugs don’t wipe out the deciduous forests, the wildfires probably will.

The gringa thinks the list of vacation priorities should go something like this:

  • Arctic expedition
  • Steppe pack-mule trip
  • Deciduous and Alpine forest camp outs
  • Beach parties around the world
  • Tropical rainforest excursion
  • Bigfoot safari in the boreal forests of the Pacific Northwest

I don’t think climate change is going to sound the death knell for planet Earth and mankind. The gringa does believe it will be the end of many species of animals and plants that are with us today. It is also highly likely that entire cultures will be wiped out when they lose the habitats they rely upon. And usually species loss does not mean a gaping hole is left behind. Usually, another species fills the gap or a species evolves and adapts. So, the key word to focus on is “change”. It’s climate “change” not climate “loss”. But the change is as significant as the past disappearances of entire civilizations such as the Maya or entire animal classes like the dinosaurs.

At this point, I believe the consensus among scientists is that we have passed the tipping point. There is no going back and “fixing” things. We simply have to ride the lightning and deal with it. So, if a person is able and so inclined, they need to enjoy the world as we know it today and document it for the children of the future.

 

Source:  www.nasa.gov

Image Credit: http://www.notenoughgood.com

 

Sandra Bland, I’ve Been Thinking About You


At the 13:55 mark in the video, Sandra, you are off camera. You’ve been knocked to the ground by the State Trooper and a female officer. You tell them, among other things… “You knock my head in the ground and I got epilepsy.” The trooper says, “Good, good.” Sandra, the medical examiner said you died because of asphyxiation. Sandra, from one epileptic to another, I know that when an epileptic has a grand mal seizure, that person stops breathing. Many die from asphyxiation. I have had grand mal seizures. I have managed to survive them because I have never been alone when it has happened. I have always had loved ones who have acted quickly to get me the emergency care I need.

As of yet, there is no video of when they booked you into jail, Sandra. Right now, I don’t know what happened to you. And you were so close to me. Maybe just an hour from my doorstep. So far, the last time I saw you alive was when the female officer took you out of her car to pat you down. The only video about the jail, so far, is when they supposedly found you. When I watched that video, I started to cry. However, I didn’t let myself cry because of my epilepsy. If I get too emotionally wound up I could have a grand mal seizure. I was home alone when I watched that video. If I had a seizure alone, I could die. So, I didn’t let myself cry about the video of the jail where you lay dead. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to shed the tears for you I would have liked to.

As I watched that jail video, I noticed that the cell you were in was near a back exit door. They put you in a hallway with a door closing off the hallway from the other holding cells. The other holding cells could be seen by camera. Your cell could not. They left you all alone. Isolated. Unseen. Vulnerable. The most dangerous situation to be in for an epileptic. The only way they could have endangered you more was if they put you in a tub of water. It seemed the only way a passerby could see you was if they bent down to look in a little window at the bottom of your cell door.

This jail video made me think of many possibilities. At almost every jail, in any area where there is interaction between police officers and prisoners, there are video cameras recording all interactions. I’m sure, Sandra, the booking area at the jail you were taken to had video cameras. I would really like to see you alive and well at the booking desk. Until I do, I have to consider several possibilities.

One possibility, Sandra, is that you had a seizure en route to the jail. If you did, you would have thrashed around and kicked in the back of the patrol car. The officer may have thought you were just causing trouble. Sandra, I believe it is possible you may have died in the back of that female officer’s police car. I believe it is possible that you never went to the booking desk because you arrived at the jail dead. I believe it is possible they brought you in that back, secluded exit, unseen, and hid you away, all alone, disgracefully and disrespectfully, in that isolated cell. Sandra, I believe it’s possible. I will continue to believe it’s possible until I see you in a booking video.

Another possibility, if the police release a booking video proving you arrived alive and well at the jail, is that you had a seizure in that cell all alone. Law enforcement must have heard the same words I heard about your epilepsy on your arrest video. They know if they did not get you proper medical attention for your epilepsy, after telling them you had the disease, and had a seizure in custody, they would be held liable for your death. Sandra, it’s possible that if you had a seizure and died in that cell it only took minutes. It would have happened suddenly. You may have had no warning. When they found you dead, it’s possible they made up this story of you hanging yourself. I don’t believe you killed yourself.

When the medical examiner looked at your body, if you had died from a seizure, he would have found that you asphyxiated. That’s exactly what the medical examiner said. He said you died of asphyxiation. The only thing he failed to say, is why you died of asphyxiation.

Sandra, I don’t personally know you. I don’t really know if you had epilepsy or not. But, I do know crying out you have epilepsy is not something most people would think to do in a situation like yours. Most people go about their lives blissfully unaware of epilepsy. I think, Sandra, that you had a seizure and died. I think, Sandra, the stress from how you were treated triggered it. I think, Sandra, law enforcement failed to take care of you. I think, Sandra, you shouldn’t have died.