Tags: climate change

Cold Winter and Global Warming

It's been a cold and snowy winter, and the prediction is for a cool and wet spring. So of course the global warming skeptics are out in full force. For those of you who disbelieve mainstream science in favor of getting your scientific reporting from Fox News: "...cold weather doesn't cause snow. What brings the flakes down is a combination of cold and precipitation. And since warmer air holds more moisture, global warming and heavy snowfall can coexist, so long as temperatures keeping dipping below 32 degrees." (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/02/12/reconciling-record-snow-storms-global-warming/)

There are really three separate issues that are lumped together:

1. Is something happening with the climate?

2. Is it natural or human-caused?

3. If there is something going on, is there anything humans can do about it?

For those trying to make up their own minds independently, look into these questions separately and rationally. Try not to decide based on emotions or what "camp" you are in.

We know the deniers' sources are traced to conservative think tanks and the oil companies that fund them. We also know the green side is trying to make bank off hysteria too, with wind farms, solar companies, green toilet paper, and anti-incandescent light bulb peeps. (This last one really annoys me, as regular light bulbs are getting the axe next year and then all you will be able to buy are the mercury light bulbs that you will have to treat like toxic waste when you dispose of one or it breaks!)

1. As for me, whether you want to call it global warming, climate change, or a natural cycle, I think there is something going on. Just visit Glacier NP and use your eyes.

2. The earth is ancient and there are have always been natural cycles of greenhouse earth, ice ages, and more, including warm and cold cycles within ice ages (and we are in an ice age). The majority of climate scientists state that human beings are impacting this cycle to a large degree. A minority either denies it or is unsure.

3. If human beings are impacting it, logically they can decrease that impact.

The bottom line for me anyways: something is going on, but the reality is, human societies are not proactive, they are reactive. That means we won't do anything until it is too late. We are adaptable. Some humans at least will survive whatever is coming. But our current global economic system is based on the status quo (oil, energy use, resource depletion) and IT won't survive. It will get very ugly before we come out the other end. Whatever "we" is left.

PS. Sending prayers for the people of northern Japan. I haven't yet heard anything about how this has impacted the Ainu of Hokkaido.

Two More Glaciers Gone from Glacier National Park

This 2009 picture made available by the U.S. Geological Service shows the remnants of the Jackson Glacier at Glacier National Park in Montana. The park has lost two more of its namesake moving icefields to climate change, which is shrinking the rivers of ice until they grind to a halt, a government researcher said Wednesday, April 7, 2010. (AP Photo/U.S. Geological Service, Lisa McKeon)

BILLINGS — Glacier National Park has lost two more of its namesake moving icefields to climate change, which is shrinking the rivers of ice until they grind to a halt, the U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday.

Warmer temperatures have reduced the number of named glaciers in the northwestern Montana park to 25, said Dan Fagre, an ecologist with the agency.

He warned the rest of the glaciers may be gone by the end of the decade.

“When we’re measuring glacier margins, by the time we go home the glacier is already smaller than what we’ve measured,” Fagre said.

The latest two to fall below the 25-acre threshold were Miche Wabun and Shepard. Each had shrunk by roughly 55 percent since the mid-1960s. The largest remaining glacier in the park is Harrison Glacier, at about 465 acres.

On a local scale, fewer glaciers means less water in streams for fish and a higher risk for forest fires. More broadly, Fagre said the fate of the glaciers offers a climate barometer, indicating dramatic changes to some ecosystems already under way.

While the meltoff shows the climate is changing, it does not show exactly what is causing temperatures to rise.

In alpine regions around the world, glacier melting has accelerated in recent decades as temperatures increased. Most scientists tie that warming directly to higher atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, though some scientists dispute that.

Some glaciers, such as in the Himalayas, could hold out for centuries in a warmer world. But more than 90 percent of glaciers worldwide are in retreat, with major losses already seen across much of Alaska, the Alps, the Andes and numerous other ranges, according to researchers in the United States and Europe.

In some areas of the Alps, ski resorts set atop glaciers have taken drastic measures to stave off the decline, such as draping glaciers in plastic sheeting to keep them cooler.

It could prove a losing battle: Scientists working for the United Nations say the last period of widespread glacial growth was more than three decades ago, lasting only for a few years.

Since about 1850, when the Little Ice Age ended, the trend has been steadily downward.

The area of the Rocky Mountains now within Glacier National Park once boasted about 150 glaciers, of which 37 were eventually named.

Fagre said a handful of the park’s largest glaciers could survive past 2020 or even 2030, but by that point the ecosystem would already be irreversibly altered.

Fagre said geological evidence points to the continual presence of glaciers in the area since at least 5000 B.C.

“They’ve been on this landscape continually for 7,000 years, and we’re looking at them disappear in a couple of decades,” he said.

A glacier needs to be 25 acres to qualify for the title. If it shrinks more, it does not always stop moving right away. A smaller mass of ice on a steep slope would continue to grind its way through the mountains, but eventually could disappear completely.

Smaller glaciers and warmer temperatures could lower stream flows, which in turn prompt fishing restrictions and hobble whitewater rafting businesses, said Denny Gignoux, who runs an outfitting business in West Glacier. Tourism is a $1 billion-a-year industry in the area.

“What happens when all these threats increase?” Gignoux asked. “We’re losing a draw to Glacier.”

A report released Wednesday by two environmental groups highlighted the threat to tourism of fewer glaciers. The study by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Natural Resources Defense Council included an analysis of weather records that showed Glacier was 2 degrees hotter on average from 2000 to 2009, compared with 1950 to 1979.

(Helena Independent Record, April 8, 2010)

Global Weirding

Lots of folks seem to point to the big winter storms this year as disproving global warming. Maybe this will help clear some things up:

Thomas Friedman...scored a bullseye in his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded when he pointed out that what we’re facing isn’t global warming but “global weirding:” not a simple increase in temperature, but an increase in unexpected and disruptive weather events. As the atmosphere heats up, the most important effect of that shift isn’t the raw increase in temperature; rather, it’s the increase in the difference in energy concentration between the atmosphere and the oceans. The thermal properties of water make the seas warm up much more slowly than the air and the Earth’s land surface, and so even a fairly modest change in the quantity of heat causes a much more significant change in exergy. Again, it’s exergy rather than energy that determines how much work a system can do, and the work that the Earth’s atmosphere does is called “weather.” Thus the most visible result of a relatively rapid rise in the heat concentration of the atmosphere isn’t a generalized warming. Rather, it’s an increase in extreme weather conditions on both ends of the temperature scale. (John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report, (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/03/exergy-crisis.html)

Basically things are going to get more extreme, "weirder." The stability of the Earth's natural cycles have been thrown out of whack. That means more rogue ocean waves, more snow storms, more droughts, more forest fires, more tornados, more floods, more hurricanes, more natural disasters...and not only "more," but disasters that don't behave like other disasters, such as hurricanes that come out of season, or that take different tracks and movements.

Hold on. Things have only started getting weird.

Beetle kill changes face of Helena Forest

By LARRY KLINE Independent Record | Posted: Thursday, December 31, 2009 12:00 am

The most startling visible change to our landscape in the past decade is the rapid death of the pines. Lodgepoles and ponderosas alike have been destroyed in a seemingly inexorable onslaught by a tiny bug called the bark beetle.

The industrious little borer has turned the needles red on millions of acres of land throughout the Western United States and Canada. The most recent preliminary federal estimate is that some 5 million acres of Montana forests have been affected by the infestation, up about 2 million acres from last year alone.

The red-and-dead reality seen in the South Hills, the Helena National Forest and beyond has prompted much alarm and has led the managers of public lands to redirect efforts they already had under way to reduce overgrowth and fire danger in area forests.

But if there’s any assurance or consistent description of the issue to be found in this, it’s the fact that this has all happened before, and that these infestations are a natural part of the ecosystem.

A sizeable outbreak killed trees in the 1920s and 1930s. Another hit forests 30 years later. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, stands in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks took their hits.

“There’s a cyclic nature to this, especially in the lodge pole pines,” state forester Bob Harrington said.

“So … why is there reason to be concerned?” he mused. “Part of it is this is happening in very visible areas, especially for your readership. And what I think is a little different compared to the late ’70s … is we have a lot more homes in that (wildland) interface.

But there are new wrinkles this time. The beetles had been limited in past outbreaks by deep cold snaps that used to be a common feature of Montana winters, and severe cold is the bugs’ only real killer. But that type of winter weather is becoming more and more rare here.

Another change — while past outbreaks had hit some specific areas quite hard, Montana forests are in a position of extreme susceptibility across the board. They’ve been weakened by drought. And the massive fires of the early 20th century sprouted new growth that’s now mature – there are literally millions of acres of uniform stands of lodge pole that grew up after those fires, for instance.

“At this point in time, we don’t know the extent,” Harrington said. “And I think another difference this time is that we had millions of acres in the old outbreaks, for sure, but we have huge parts of Montana that are lodge pole pines that are now 100 years old. Now they’re ready to go.”

Mike Garrity, director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, agrees the beetle outbreak is on a scale not recently seen by humans, but he doesn’t believe the picture is as dire as some press reports have said. In an example, he pointed to the forest between Helena and Butte. A few years ago, those trees were bright red, which had the effect of drawing everyone’s eyes away from what’s still living.

Now, the red needles have dropped off, and a different image emerges.

“Your eyes focus on the red, once the red is gone, you see all the live trees that were hidden by the needles,” Garrity said.

“It doesn’t take long for the forest to recover from this,” he added. “My prediction is that once the red needles fall off around Helena, people will move on to some other hysteria. I think people are blowing this all out of proportion.

“It’s nature’s way of thinning out the forest.”

But while Harrington and Garrity largely agree on the nature of the issue, they don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on how — or, in many instances, whether — to address it. And other folks have lined up in the same corners, fighting out another story that’s all too common in Montana: the interests of the environment versus the use of the resources it produces.

Garrity advocates thinning where needed. He agreed with the decision to temporarily close the Park Lake campground and day-use area because of the large number of hazard trees left standing dead. And he agrees with the decision to remove several hundred hazard trees along the cross-country ski trails at MacDonald Pass. But he doesn’t think the beetles are cause for much more.

“In general, if you look at the healthiest forests in our region … the area where there’s the broadest diversity of wildlife are in unmanaged forests,” Garrity said.

Harrington sees things differently. He believes a portion of the trees should be harvested to both manage the land and help the Montana timber industry.

“I think at first it’s a question of scale,” he said. “I don’t know anyone who’s advocating that we should start (cutting) in Helena and not stop until we get to Butte.

“We think on several fronts the state of Montana has a vested interest in seeing some level of reasonable, science-based management on the landscape, on all ownerships,” he added. “From a state perspective, we think it’s a good thing to employ people. We think it’s a good thing to generate economic value.

“The broader issue in 2010 in this country and in this state is: are we going to continue to outsource our forest products industry out to Canada and southeast Asia and Siberia … or are we going to continue to provide for ourselves?”

The beetle issues and the response will continue to evolve in the coming years, and the debate surely also will.


"5. What was the total precipitation in your area last year (July-June)?"

The total amount for last year was about 11 1/2" of precipitation as snow and rain. The chart below shows comparative data for 2001.

Climate for Helena, Montana

Home : Climate Graphs: Montana : Helena

Average Temperatures for Helena

Average Temperature for Helena, Montana

Helena's coldest month is January when the average temperature overnight is 9.9°F. In July, the warmest month, the average day time temperature rises to 83.4°F.

Average Rainfall for Helena

Average Rainfall for Helena, Montana

The driest month in Helena is February with 0.38 inches of precipitation, and with 1.82 inches June is the wettest month.

Monthly Sunshine Hours

Percentage of Sunshine for Helena, Montana
MonthSunshine Hours

Sunshine hours refers to the amount sunshine there is during the hours of daylight. A higher percentage means there is more sunshine through the day and a lower percentage will indicate that it is probably cloudier. Sunshine hours are important when you are planning your vacation.


I also found a good site to keep tabs on Montana Climate Change: http://www.montanaclimatechange.com/learn.php

The Icecaps are Melting

"...You don't have to think that humans caused climate change, or that humans can stop climate change before it is too late, but my feeling is that either you will agree that strange and dramatic climatic changes are afoot, or you just haven't done your homework. On this issue, I just don't see that there is any room for legitimate debate. The evidence is in."

If you don't know Orlov and the comments from his readers, it's time you did...


And now for something completely different...Tiny Tim singing "The icecaps are melting..."...back in the 1960s...

Cold and Climate Change

We had 80 degree temperatures, a week of "fall," and now it is 8 above 0 at night and 20 during the day. The green leaves are freeze-dried and still on the trees until the next big winds.

Climate change: The critical thing to me is not so much whether it is human-caused or otherwise..and not even so much as if it is "warming" or "cooling"...but that there is indeed climate change of some kind, that it is chaotic and unpredictable...and that our agriculture, and thus food supply, will doubtless be affected and add to social instability and stress...and global strife.

Doomer Lit Anyone?

Yeah, that's right. The Farmer's Almanac has predicted another long cold winter. And of course this will bring all the naysayers out to point and say, "See? This 'global warming' business is a load of greenie hogwash!'" LOL, I can hardly wait. Or should that be LULZ instead?

I have heard a lot about "chick lit" but am surprised I haven't yet come across the term "doomer lit" yet, especially with the culture-wide dystopian mood these days. The "End of the World" has always been a successful niche market in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, witness "Last Man on Earth," "Omega Man," "Planet of the Apes," and "Soylent Green." We are a pack of funsters that's for sure.

For example, here are three excellent doomer essays, gems of "doomer lit" (Don't read them unless you are a doomer and/or need a jolt of depression):

Imperial Entropy: Collapse of the American Empire
"It is quite ironic: only a decade or so after the idea of the United States as an imperial power came to be accepted by both right and left, and people were actually able to talk openly about an American empire, it is showing multiple signs of its inability to continue. And indeed it is now possible to contemplate, and openly speculate about, its collapse.

The neocons in power in Washington these days, those who were delighted to talk about America as the sole empire in the world following the Soviet disintegration, will of course refuse to believe in any such collapse, just as they ignore the realities of the imperial war in Iraq. But I think it behooves us to examine seriously the ways in which the U.S. system is so drastically imperiling itself that it will cause not only the collapse of its worldwide empire but drastically alter the nation itself on the domestic front.

All empires collapse eventually: Akkad, Sumeria, Babylonia, Ninevah, Assyria, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, Carthage, Rome, Mali, Songhai, Mongonl, Tokugawaw, Gupta, Khmer, Hapbsburg, Inca, Aztec, Spanish, Dutch, Ottoman, Austrian, French, British, Soviet, you name them, they all fell, and most within a few hundred years. The reasons are not really complex. An empire is a kind of state system that inevitably makes the same mistakes simply by the nature of its imperial structure and inevitably fails because of its size, complexity, territorial reach, stratification, heterogeneity, domination, hierarchy, and inequalities. ..."

End of the Wild
"Over the next 100 years or so as many as half of the Earth's species, representing a quarter of the planet's genetic stock, will either completely or functionally disappear. The land and the oceans will continue to teem with life, but it will be a peculiarly homogenized assemblage of organisms naturally and unnaturally selected for their compatibility with one fundamental force: us. Nothing—not national or international laws, global bioreserves, local sustainability schemes, nor even "wildlands" fantasies—can change the current course. The path for biological evolution is now set for the next million years. And in this sense "the extinction crisis"—the race to save the composition, structure, and organization of biodiversity as it exists today—is over, and we have lost. . . ."

A Planet of Weeds
"Hope is a duty from which paleontologists are exempt. Their job is to take the long view, the cold and stony view, of triumphs and catastrophes in the history of life. They study teeth, tree trunks, leaves, pollen, and other biological relics, and from it they attempt to discern the lost secrets of time, the big patterns of stasis and change, the trends of innovation and adaptation and refinement and decline that have blown like sea winds among ancient creatures in ancient ecosystems. Although life is their subject, death and burial supply all their data. They're the coroners of biology. This gives to paleontologists a certain distance, a hyperopic perspective beyond the reach of anxiety over outcomes of the struggles they chronicle. If hope is the thing with feathers, as Emily Dickinson said, then it's good to remember that feathers don't generally fossilize well.

...our Planet of Weeds will indeed be a crummier place, a lonelier and uglier place, and a particularly wretched place for the 2 billion people comprising Alan Durning's absolute poor. What will increase most dramatically as time proceeds, I suspect, won't be generalized misery or futuristic modes of consumption but the gulf between two global classes experiencing those extremes. Progressive failure of ecosystem functions? Yes, but human resourcefulness of the sort Julian Simon so admired will probably find stopgap technological remedies, to be available for a price. So the world's privileged class -- that's your class and my class -- will probably still manage to maintain themselves inside Homer-Dixon's stretch limo, drinking bottled water and breathing bottled air and eating reasonably healthy food that has become incredibly precious, while the potholes on the road outside grow ever deeper. Eventually the limo will look more like a lunar rover. Ragtag mobs of desperate souls will cling to its bumpers, like groupies on Elvis's final Cadillac. The absolute poor will suffer their lack of ecological privilege in the form of lowered life expectancy, bad health, absence of education, corrosive want, and anger. Maybe in time they'll find ways to gather themselves in localized revolt against the affluent class. Not likely, though, as long as affluence buys guns. In any case, well before that they will have burned the last stick of Bornean dipterocarp for firewood and roasted the last lemur, the last grizzly bear, the last elephant left unprotected outside a zoo."

Don't read them if you hate doomer stuff. I put them here so I could find them again when I wanted. Now all I gotta do is wait for the release of "2012" and "The Road" and all will be doomer-beautiful ;-PP

Glaciers in Glacier National Park Gone Within 20 Years

Glacier Park’s ice may disappear by 2030
By MARY PICKETT Billings Gazette - 06/15/2009

BILLINGS — On the eve of Glacier National Park’s 100th birthday, some of its distinctive features — glaciers — are disappearing and may not be around for the park’s bicentennial party.

The parks’ remaining glaciers might not last longer than the next decade, said Dan Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey mountain ecologist who has been studying the park’s glaciers for 18 years.

Glaciers are created when snow falling over many years is compacted into ice. For an ice field to be classified as a glacier, it must be more than 25 acres in size, be on the move and sculpt the landscape.

A 2003 study predicted park glaciers might be gone by 2030. But, because temperatures are warming at a more rapid rate than a few years ago, glaciers could disappear by 2020, Fagre said. In 1900, about 150 glaciers lay in what is now the national park.

Now only 25 glaciers are 25 acres or larger, Fagre said.

Although the size and number of glaciers have been decreasing over the past century, glaciers now are shrinking at three to four times the rate that they were in the 1950s and 1960s.

The reason is warmer temperatures.

Although Glacier is relatively cool compared with many other parts of the world, temperatures in the park have increased two to three times as much as than the global average temperature increase, Fagre said.

Glaciers don’t take sides in the debate over whether that increased heat is natural or manmade.

But there’s no debate over the fact that temperatures are getting warmer and glaciers are getting smaller.

Based on aerial surveys, photos and data from monitoring devices used by Fagre and others, including University of Montana researchers, every glacier could disappear over the next 10 years, although some ice fields might remain.

Although glaciers can be replenished during years with high snowfalls and mild summers, those types of years haven’t outnumbered glacier-depleting years of drier winters and hot summers, Fagre said.

The largest glacier in the park now is Blackfoot Glacier, which is about 445 acres. It is south of Logan Pass and is visible from the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Some of the park’s present-day glaciers have been around for 7,000 years, although the ice doesn’t date back that far. When conditions are right, new ice is made while older ice melts. The ice in today’s glaciers is only three to four decades old.

The glaciers that survive today are not the huge glaciers that carved the distinctive topography between 18,000 and 12,000 years ago.

Glaciers are disappearing all over the globe from the Andes to the Himalayans. Ninety-nine percent of Alaska’s glaciers are shrinking, including one that has retreated 50 miles over many years.

If glaciers do disappear, species of plants and animals that depend on them might vanish, too.

The alpine poppy needs moisture through the summer. Living at the edge of glaciers, the small flower soaks up water from melting ice.

Some animals, too, have adapted to life near glaciers.

During the driest, hottest part of the year in August, stream flows drop and can go dry, dooming some aquatic life.

The drip from glaciers provides cold water for fish such as the bull trout — nicknamed the “polar bear of trout” — that could die off if not enough chilled water reaches streams where they live.

If the glaciers disappear, the park’s name will remain because it was named after the glaciation process that created Glacier’s dramatic mountains, not glaciers themselves, said Amy Vanderbilt, a park spokeswoman.


Thoughts on My 49th Birthday

Yes, I know the photo is reversed. That's the thing about pics taken with a web camera! The book, if you don't want to bother holding your computer monitor up to a mirror, is Mircea Eliade's "Two Strange Tales."

Yesterday was June 2, 2009. I turned 49. I wondered how many more years I could potentially live, if an accident or medical situation doesn't take me earlier. I will be 50 in 2010, 60 in 2020, 70 in 2030. I don't have medical coverage as I am unemployed, so if something weird happens that other people might be able to get through, such as heart surgery or cancer, I'm probably a goner.

On the other hand, my family members tend to live at least to around age 70, and some to 80 or just past it (though those are mostly females). Us males tend to start to have problems in our 40s, a heart attack in our 50s, and on regular meds by our 60s. I am almost 50, and have a few things started already, par for the course.

I feel pretty sure I'll make it to 2020 (unless the heart thing gets me), and if I am -really- lucky, -maybe- 2030. I don't see it going much farther than that, for me. I like eating too much. I haven't been under 200 pounds since I was in high school. Men in my family don't get under 210 or so until they are in their 70s and are starting to dwindle. I was 240 in grad school, but only had 9% bodyfat. I'm big; 6'2", and now -weighing myself- 290 lbs. Big people, unless they are naturally slender, don't tend to live as long as smaller folks. I am, and have always been, chunky and sedentary. I walk a mile or so every day, and binge on salads and veggies, maybe once every week or two have a hamburger. If regular, normal exercise and eating rationally isn't enough, then I will accept whatever my lot is that goes with that. I am not going to be a vegan and a marathoner. I couldn't run even a mile in high school, let alone now. But I can walk and I can eat and I can try not to worry and I can try to laugh every day.

So last night, to celebrate my birthday and making it another year on this Earth, I watched most of the ABC News program last night, "Earth 2100." I know I won't be there. I don't have any kids. But my nephews' and niece's kids will be, and they will live through some bad stuff themselves.

I can't show any of the graphic novel parts, because all of those have been disabled from embedding at YouTube, so you'll just have to go there and search if you are interested.

As far as the "graphic novel" approach in the ABC presentation, although I thought it was creative, pretty cool, and would be of real interest to the young, it wasn't to the tastes of many others. Lots of people arguing about it on both sides, some gnashing of teeth "we are gonna die" along with "we can roll up our sleeves and get to work creating a Utopia using solar cells" on the liberal side and others pulling the Rush Limbaugh frothing of Obama being a dictator and propagandist on the conservative side (ironic how the ideology of "conservative" is often against conserving). Ahh, the eternal dichotomy of human thinking, of "us vs them". The usual crap of those who get their facts from one camp or another, from one ideology or another, rather than using independent, critical thinking based on the facts and one's senses and memories.

We have learned, I hope, that you really can't trust either liberal or conservative, left or right, Democrat or Republican. They all want your money. They have all proven themselves corrupt. Me? I only consistently trust nature. People are pretty much always trying to lie one way or another to suit their aims. Lest I sound too misanthropic, I have learned that there are individuals you CAN trust, but they are few and far between. I wish it were otherwise.

Of course we have climate change doubters by the bushel here in Montana too. Rather subscribe to what a radio show pundit might say instead of looking at the dwindling snow and beetle-killed pines on the mountains. "Well this last winter was real cold, lots of snow, didn't ever think it was going to be summer." "Yeah, that Rush says it's all a bunch of anti-American, anti-business socialist BS." And the rust-dead patches of beetle-killed pines increase year by year.

The climate changes include overall warming ("global" warming) but each region will have different effects. The overall effect will be chaos. Unpredictability. Local news this week said though we had snowpack still, the last two months have been drier than normal, with May seeing only half the normal rainfall. And in national news this week, they note that for the last couple of years, hurricanes have been forming not in their usual places off Africa, but just offshore of the U.S., giving people little time to prepare compared to even five years ago.

In the geological sense, we are still within an Ice Age. We had a very cold winter in Montana...but not as cold as it used to be. We had a good snowpack...but the last two months have been seen half as much moisture as before. The glaciers are all disappearing from Glacier National Park and from the higher altitudes. Those are facts. Bottom line: however much one puts/proportions the cause at the door of industry or at natural cycles, we are in the middle of some major changes. Changes that will make it difficult for our system to survive. Will people survive? I believe we will. But we are in a very complex system of food transportation and climate change is messing with growing cycles (as you note, oranges for example, and water).

Climate change has always been with us. And there have been major extinctions several times in earth's history. A meteor could take us out at any time. And I live close enough to the Yellowstone supervolcano that I will be automatic toast if it blows. Can't do anything about that. Pretty much every scientist, without exception, does have the data to show that our way of life is adding to the tipping point and cumulative effects of climate change.

The thing is, Earth has been through worse and will survive. We, as a civilization and way of life, will end like the Romans (or worse) very soon; within this next century. Perhaps sooner than that. Because, personally, I don't think enough people worldwide are going to act in time, or go far enough, to at least take our part out of the climate equation.

The U.S., at least those who agree that climate change is occurring, is relying on a technological fix.

As John Michael Greer noted in his blog, "Every way of thinking about the world rests ultimately on presuppositions that are, strictly speaking, metaphysical in nature: that is, they deal with fundamental questions about what exists and what has value. Trying to ignore the metaphysical dimension does not make it go away, but rather simply insures that those who make this attempt will be blindsided whenever the real world fails to behave according to their unexamined assumptions. "

This is exactly why the people just keep proposing a technological fix to something that is in reality, not fixable, because they cannot shake an underlying metaphysical assumption of eternal human progress.

They are really unable to see our current situation, saying the internet must survive and therefore it will, or that some kind of technology will magically solve all our problems. Technology is not science; it is a only a product of science. Science is a way of seeing the world and the resulting methodology to act upon what is seen-- through developing technology. If science is missing a point it is hardwired to miss due to underlying assumptions and metaphysics, then technology, which relies on science, has no chance of addressing the point.

Science and its products are wonderful and amazing. One must state that nothing else humans have come up with in history has been able to manipulate material reality as successfully as science has been able to. But material reality has not definitively been proven to be all that exists. Science is not equipped to be able to ask that question, not in its present configuration as empirical materialism. It is a screwdriver, but there are also bolts and nails in the world for which a screwdriver has no utility.

But science really cannot examine its own underlying metaphysics, no matter how it tries. And there will of course be those who cannot see this either, just as they cannot grasp this point when it comes to economics. Just as science somehow believes it lies outside human assumptions, and can examine and critique indigenous thought. Science needs something outside itself to be able to critique and examine it as well. Indigenous thought can do this as effectively as science can, because its underlying metaphysics are entirely different.

But the debate will continue, and will get uglier and more polarized as conditions worsen. The comments on the show are pretty ugly already.

I would just suggest that people find out for themselves, from history, from the scientific data, and from their own senses. We are in the middle of change, whatever you think the cause might be. Take a trip to Glacier Park and look for yourself. Forget about the ideologies of left or right, of liberal or conservative. They all have an axe to grind and want power. Go back to how our ancestors thought; observe nature itself.

And prepare to adapt.

Me? I'll do what I can to help keep our old Indian ways going. Try to keep nature spirituality alive in my small way. Use my abilities, do art and write. Chase a few ghosts. Teach what I can in classes in archaeology and art and environmental ethics. Use less. Plant some trees and wild herbs. Pass on books and knowledge to the next generation. Not fail on my watch if I have any say. Do what I can about things I can do something about, and try to ignore those things I can't do anything about, to avoid the stress that leads to a heart attack. And just try and remember to enjoy every day above ground, because every day above ground is a good one. And you never know when it might be your last.

As a celebration of my birthday, I post my favorite poem annually, which is actually an Inuit song:

I think over again
My small adventures, my fears.
The small ones that seemed so big,
For all the vital things I had to get and to reach.
And yet there is only one great thing, the only thing:
To live to see the great day that dawns,
And the light that fills the world.

And finally, some Paul Simon...