Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blog Action Day: Global Warming? Why, It's COLD out there!

Post Script

Ever since I moved from San Diego up to this rural Paradise where I now call Home, I've been teased about worrying about Global Warming. It still snows here. It still rains here. Folks haven't noticed such a big difference.

But where I came from, there is a HUGE difference. I was raised in a very rural part of east county San Diego, at the foothills of the Cleveland National Forest. It used to snow there every other year. There hasn't been snow there for upwards of 20 + years. The summers now range in the triple digits for weeks into months now, not a couple of errant days. As long as you can bring water to the plants, there is no "out-of-season".. BUT "bringing water to the plants" is now problematical, as the Colorado River is being sucked dry, as is the Sacramento River. Summers are now filled with brown-outs and water rationing as the status quo. I go to visit my Mom every Winter, and walking down the streets of my old hometown is a jarring, jangley experience. It's dry, it's rustley, it's dusty and thirsty and parched. And the places where water still roams wild, those places are still brown along the edges, crispy, sad, with cracked mud like aged ancient sun stroked skin.

There is no more "non fire season" in San Diego. San Diego now has a twelve-month long fire season. Winters are brown and dusty, and what little rain that comes gets sucked away, or washes away the top soil in gullies from the previous burns.

The land is parched, the people disconnected from the land. The land is being cut up, chopped up, burnt and fenced off, the forests burn unchecked. Is it any wonder that SoCal people feel disconnected from the land? I can only imagine how it feels to be a real City person... I know I couldn't do it.

So from my vantage point, busy making terrible landscaping mistakes up here in the Great Pacific Northwest where rain is free falling right from the sky with nary an impediment, Global Warming is a fact of life. It affected me deeply. It chased me from my birth home. It still affects me.

I shut the water off when I brush my teeth. I worry when the water takes a bit to warm up in my shower, worry that I'm wasting water, but I just cannot brace myself to take cold showers up here. I resist allowing the hose to trickle in that NW trick of fooling the freeze. I wrap the faucets up in bubble wrap, instead. I'm piecing together rain barrels. I should have them up and ready next year. I worry about watering my gardens, and I figure that I need to divert that run-off into a source where I can tap it.

My other project is to see if I can tap the washing machine grey water for watering the landscape plants. That shouldn't be TOO hard, but I will need help in accomplishing it...

I have pictures of it snowing in Flinn Springs. I have memories -- not pictures, mind you, because we got into too much trouble skidding down the snowy hill in our new white britches --which got quite ruined-- on our butts as kids! This was in 1962.
I shall find the pictures of our wee home nestled in a blanket of snow. San Diego in a Norman Rockwell dream sequence.

So when my neighbors and room-mate tease me about being so water-conscience (or paranoid as it is also called), or when they laugh at me about my belief that Global Warming is not a myth, I shall nod, and go about the business of trying to prepare for the time when the PNW is under water rationing.

Since my career is now in horticulture, I watch articles about climate and how it affects insects and fungus. The nursery business is particularly susceptable to infestations of both of these pests.

I notice that White Pines in the PNW have been hit very hard by overwintering beetles. I notice that quarantines have affected the Nursery industry, in particular regarding transportation of plants. Oregon State put out an excellent and frightening article about the affects and unknown qualities of
Phytophthora ramorum

I found these articles to be quite disturbing:
Assessing the consequences of global change for forest disturbance from herbivores and pathogens

Mountain Pine Beetle

Doesn't this look familiar?

And what about my home town? Estacada is "The Christmas Tree Capital of the World"... How does global warming affect this beautiful rural heaven? When Winters don't have hard freezes, when Winters are mild, these bark beetles can overwinter in the forests and in the tree lots.

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) can only do so much. Look at this article about the Christmas Tree industry and all the things they must do to grow the trees we routinely throw away come New Years' :
Integrated Pest Management in Christmas Tree Production
What can we do when the Winters remain mild, and the bettles come to eat? We NEED the cold -- the hard cold, the hard freezes-- that kill these invasive and devasting pests. Not to mention the ability to ship non-infected trees and shrubs to other nurseries across the state. Oregon economy is dependant on the Nursery industry. There's been a 17% decrease in Nursery sales and I don't believe that that fact is wholely reliant upon the economy. Much of the decline is due to crop failures and damage.

I dunno. I just think it's pretty odd that there are so many folks who don't believe in this thing called Global Warming when, to me, it's all around me. In my short 50+ years, it's wrapped me 'round with it's tentacles of fear and worry. So I'll just frown and keep my worry to myself, and keep watching the weather, and keep saving water, and keep on being as sustainable as possible.


Blog Action Day! I'm In, are you?

Addendum: In beautiful and relatively unknown Maldive, the political party there is taking Global Warming pretty darned seriously. It's been hypothesized that their island will be underwater by the end of the century. I wonder if our American naysayers, if THEY lived in Maldive, would they be so certain that climate change was a hoax put on by the radical tree-hugging Left? I think not.

Off to muse with my muse....


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