Friday, July 4, 2008

Terrifing and Saddening Destruction of Forest Due to Global Warming

The Economist is running an article on the destruction of vast swathes of forest in British Columbia due to the Mountain Pine Beetle. Why hasn't this happened before you ask? Well said Beetle is normally killed off in the icy BC winters but since the last several years have been so warm it's allowed the beetle to flourish.

I don't intend to post articles like this often. The Environmental News Network, Dot Earth, and others document environmental degradation far better than I can. What I'm interested in is the long term problem of becoming sustainable, what the issues are, and how we can get there.

The reason I'm posting this is because it exemplifies some of the big picture problems of climate change:
1. Climate change is positive feedback loop. These trees are dead and will no longer be able to store carbon which will in turn accelerate the climate change.
2. Climate change will bring new problems that we could never have modeled or anticipated because it operates in such a large and dynamic system that it ripe for emergent properties.
3. This is the kind of problem that we will see increasingly in the future if climate change isn't slowed: a vast natural change that has negative consequences for us and which we have no solution for. Our children will increasingly be faced with situations that render the life we would want for them impossible.

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