WARNING: This post talks about the science of climate change. If you don’t believe in climate change please read more science and less Fox News.
Let’s focus for a minute on this image. It’s beautiful. I took it. Out my car window. While I was driving. Now focus beyond the elk. Beyond the judgement of taking a photo with my phone from behind the wheel while I was traveling 5 miles per hour.
What’s going on with all the trees?
I first arrived in Rocky Mountain National Park and was stunned by the amount of bare and fallen trees. Well, first I was stunned by the beauty and grace of such an amazing thing as this amazing place. Then I jumped to the conclusion some careless person brought an invasive species and it had destroyed the trees. No however, I killed the trees. Not just me, all of us.
The beetles that are native to the forest and live off of tree bark in the spring are normally killed off by the bitter winters here. The park is also in a 20 year drought. Yes. 20 years of below what is needed to sustain the ecosystem. The combination of warming temperatures and weakening ecosystem has led to this. A mass destruction of trees in the park. Its like a tree graveyard out here.
The man camping next to me is a self proclaimed guru and doctor of eastern medicine. He also retired from Sun Microsystems last year apparently. He was kind enough to tap me on the back a few times and pet me from the neck to the butt and tell me that it will improve my mental focus. He also explained that this was a natural balancing of the environment so the forest can continue to sustain itself. He said it’s a 500 year cycle. I kindly asked if this cycle would need to happen if the temperature hadn’t risen a 3.4 degree avg at the park over the last 10 years. He said he didn’t know about that.
He’s right in a way. Nature does correct itself. The ecosystem is protecting itself and balancing every where in the park.
As we drove to the Alpine tundra there were signs dedicated to the effects of shorter winters. How the Alpine Tundra sustains 150mph winds and -30 degree temps on the winter and it can last up to 8 months.
Well, it used to. There’s signs here that talk of how the shorter winters and longer warm season is impacting life where there is very little life. A shorter gestation period is shortening the life span of certain birds. Flowers that normally bloom and die out to seed again the next summer are seeding and regrowing before they are able to seed again they are frozen and die off. The weasel that lives up here molts and changes to its white coat to brown summer coat when the temperature changes. However it’s been confused and it’s cycle is off causing it to fall victim to larger predators at a faster rate than normal due to its lack of camouflage causing an imbalance of it all. Here’s a picture of me enjoying it for a few minutes.
I’m not telling you to believe in climate change or global warming. Extremists have damaged any credibility in the argument either direction. I’m just asking if this was worth another iPhone? Another SUV? Or, looking around the park, a 40 foot RV. Seriously. I don’t understand them. What’s the point of experiencing any of this and then walking inside to your tv, computer, iPad, kitchen, and every modern convenience the thneed factory can produce. Just come out here and see it all. Before we forget where it all was.
Here’s half of some awesome pizza.