Birds, Insects, People


Environmental disasters have been reported in scientific journals of all nations, even in news journals such as Fox (Faux) News. Nature, and Nature Briefing, and Inside Climate News have monthly and weekly reports of the effects of overheating of the earth and oceans on plant life, animal life, and the life of microorganisms.

The global overheating has brought floods, wildfires, and heat waves to the whole continent of Australia. The change in climate has affected the language as well. It is now called climate chaos, collapse, crisis, calamity, cacophony, apocalypse …

Several human interest stories have been reported — if you can call such unfortunate “human interest.” The flying foxes of Australia have suffered heat exhaustion leading to impairment of their mental and physical capacities.

Sea-bird die-offs have been reported among common murres and tufted puffins as the photo- and zoo-plankton has changed and the fish and birds have had to compete with each other for food. The birds died of starvation in droves. At first, the scientists looked for viral and bacterial toxins and for parasites, but, it was nothing so esoteric. It was simply starvation.

In the countries of East Africa and around the Red Sea, there have been incessant heavy rains and accompanying heat waves — favorite weather conditions for the breeding of desert locusts. The insects can eat huge amounts of vegetation. A swarm of locusts the size of Paris can eat the same amount of food in a day as all of France does. Sorry, no French cuisine or Bordeaux wine.

Also of human interest is what’s happening to people. We’re the new kid on the block in geologic time. Homo sapiens gracilis is only 200,000 years old and has been living in the Pleistocene Epoch.

The last ice age ended only about 12,000 years ago, as we entered the Holocene, the Epoch of good weather. But the Holocene itself has been changing in the last few years, mostly because of our industrial activity and our use of fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas. The linguists are starting to use the term Anthropocene for the new climate Epoch. Human interest, surely.

Also, the reasons may be different, but we seem to be entering the Time of the Sixth Mass Extinction. Will we be going the way of the dinosaurs?


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