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Archive for Pangea

Animals, Plants smarter on Global Warming

If we’d lived between about 1100 and 750 million years ago, we’d have been able to walk to practically anywhere on the huge supercontinent called Rodina: Russian for “motherland.”  

Scientists say when Rodina broke up, around 700 million years ago, the climate cooled dramatically. After Rodina came Pangaea, the last supercontinent, some 300 million years ago. Pangaea broke apart during the dinosaur age, in the Triassic and Jurassic periods. 

Since these two supercontinents, the earth has gone through various heating and cooling periods, and we’re apparently heading into a warming cycle. Whether humans are causing or accelerating the cycle, it is happening, and I can’t help but feel that governments worldwide are not taking this seriously enough. 

We humans keep acting as though we own the paltry little plot of land that our house sits on because of something called a “deed”! Nature does not recognize deeds. The sea, the desert, the ice caps – they go where they will! 

Even the mighty Dutch who’ve tamed the sea for generations are now realizing that it’s best to let nature take its course – so the government is acquiring tracts of land that it will allow to “flood” to ease pressure on its famous dykes.

According to The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global sea levels rose about 3-millimeters each year, from 1993 to 2003.  Yet people are continuing to build along coastlines…and demanding that the government and taxpayers prop up their buildings with sand and help from US Army Corps of Engineers. 

The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development put 10 cities at the highest risk from flooding due to rising sea levels. Among them: New York City and New Orleans. I’m not surprised…scientists say Manhattan was once under a sheet of ice taller than the Empire State building. 

Scientists point to the following signs to show that Global Warming is happening: 

•          Spreading Disease

•          Heat Waves

•          Melting Glaciers

•          Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding

•          Spring Comes Earlier

•          Coral Reefs are Bleaching

•          Downfalls, Heavy Downfalls and Floods

•          Droughts and Fires

•          Plant and Animal Range Shifts 

So what are we doing to deal with Global Warming? We can always colonize space! 

Meantime, the animals and plants are planning and evolving. 

In Scotland, a species of sheep is getting smaller. According to a Newsweek article (Why Are Scotland’s Sheep Shrinking? July 20, 2009) Wild Soay sheep on St. Kilda archipelago, off Scotland’s west coast, have been getting smaller – by about 5-percent in the last 25 years. 

Seems the sheep used to fatten up to survive the area’s harsh winters but as the weather warms up and winters get shorter and milder, there’s more food to go around so smaller, scrawnier, less fit sheep are surviving. These sheep in turn have offspring that tend to be smaller. 

According to the Newsweek article, mosquitoes along the mid-Atlantic/Canada seaboard are also adapting to changing weather patterns. Mosquitoes in Maine normally start hibernating in late August, but now with winter arriving later, mosquitoes are hibernating about a week later! 

Even California’s Field Mustard Weed seems to be preparing for climate change. 

According to the Newsweek article, the plant’s reproductive cycle has sped up. It’s adapting to recent droughts in California by flowering earlier. Smart plant! 

Scientists say nearly half of the Earth’s species are adjusting to Climate Change. Birds, insects and plants are changing their habitat and moving north towards the poles…or up mountains. 

We should listen. Officials say animals did not die in the tsunami disaster in Asia (December 26, 2004).

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