pine forest

It’s Not Just Climate Change

pine forestThe way that popular media reports it, you’d think every environmental problem is about climate change. News flash, folks; there are a lot of other issues negatively impacting the world around us. A study from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain offers a good example.

Other Human-Caused Environmental Problems

Researchers investigated changes occurring in the Hoyocasero pine forest on the Iberian Peninsula. It is of ecological importance because of the abundance of rare Mediterranean species. Using dendroecological analysis, the team found that climate change impacts were not evident. Rather they identified changes in pH and nutrients caused by human manipulation of soil and vegetation causing the declines in the forest.

These findings are significant because they draw attention to other environmental issues which have taken a back seat to the hot-button issue of climate change. Just because climate change exists does not negate the other pressing problems with serious consequences.

Habitat Degradation

If you want to see the effects of habitat degradation first-hand, look no further than native tallgrass prairies in the United States. Less than one percent of native prairies remain in several states, including Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa. Look at wetlands for an equally bleak picture. The country has lost over half of the 221 million acres of wetlands that existed in the 1600s.

I’m not suggesting we ignore climate change. Rather we need to recognize the immediate dangers around us. Loss of habitats are the proverbial dominoes, with cascading effects on wildlife, flooding, tourism, water quality, air quality, to name a few.

It is unfortunate that the public consciousness has shifted from the environment around us. It is unconscionable that environmentalism and its issues have becomes so politicized that we fail to act. It is tragic.

John Muir once said,

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But He cannot save them from fools.”

Truer words may never have been spoken. Chris DR

photo credit: Pinus parviflora (Japanese White Pine) via photopin (license)

Posted in Climate Change, Environment.