Syria, Egypt, NextHotspot. Meanwhile, the web unravels… #biodiversity #wearetoast

Well, that was breath-taking, wasn’t it?  Will Cameron resign?  According to an amusing tweet –

Stop all this “will Cameron resign” blather. He wouldn’t resign if he was found in a rent boy sandwich covered in cocaine.

Meanwhile though, let’s keep our eyes on the long-term story.  “Mother Nature” (and the quote marks are fully intended) doesn’t care if we do or don’t drop expensive ordnance on innocent people in far off countries of which we know very very little.

What “Mother Nature” is interested in is whether we are destroying the conditions of life for millions of other species.

We are.

And what “Mother Nature” is going to do to protect us, the oh-so-wonderful bald monkey that had a tail-ectomy a few million years back, is this…

Nowt. Diddly Squat.  Nada.  Nothing.

Because “Mother Nature” doesn’t exist. It’s a construct.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget; we are nothing special.  We are not immune to the consequences of our actions.  We think our opposable thumbs and a few square centimetres of mildly connected neurons will change the laws of physics, chemistry and biology.

They won’t.  We will find this out, the hard way, quite soon.  In geological terms, in less than an eye-blink.

Readers of “Dwight Towers”  will know all this.  They will probably want to read the whole article that this excerpt is from

The fork-tailed aerobatic wonders mate for life and year after year the couples, migrating from as far as South America, would return to the same nests in the old barn.

However, their numbers began to decline as the area was developed. The trees were logged and milled, parts of the estuary were mined for gravel, rock walls were built to stop erosion, and a straight channel, in use to this day, was dug so the river no longer wound through the estuary, shifting course with the seasons.

All that meant fewer insects and that meant weak and hungry barn swallows, now susceptible to the larvae of the blowfly.

One by one, the nesting pairs slipped away over decades, Dawe says. “When I left there were none.”

There are still barn swallows in the area but there aren’t as many: between 1966 and 2011, barn swallows in B.C. have declined at a rate of 4.96% a year.

They’re among more 30 B.C. birds known to be in decline, including the iconic Great Blue Heron (1.7% per year), the Rufous Hummingbird (1.91%), the beautiful killdeer (3.8%), the American Goldfinch (4.85%) and so on. Forty-five of the 57 coastal waterbirds using the Strait of Georgia were in decline between 1999 and 2011, including the Brant sea goose (4.7% per year), Greater Yellowlegs (10.5%) and Western Grebe (16.4%).

But it isn’t just birds. The inconspicuous Pacific crabapple, once a mainstay of the estuary, is all but gone. Dawe points to a scrawny metre-high specimen near a road. “I’d guess it’s a hundred years old,” he says.

The Douglas fir and Sitka spruce are all but gone. The life-giving grassy carex, as Dawe and fellow biologist Andy Stewart reported in 2010, is being stripped from the estuary by resident Canada geese at a rate of 15-18 metric tonnes a year.

“Most of these plants here now are invasive species,” he says.

Indeed, in his 35 years of studying what is supposed to be a wildlife sanctuary, it has almost all changed, and it no longer supports the life it once did.

It looks green and serene but to Dawe, “It’s a veritable desert here.”

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About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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