Saturday, October 24, 2015

California Wildfires Are Abrupt Climate Change, Ecological Collapse

California is collapsing ecologically
It’s OK America, pop pills and watch TV. Don’t worry about abrupt climate change, environmental collapse, or perma-war blowback from your oil addiction.
“California is a nice place to visit, but soon no one may be able to live there.” – Dr. Glen Barry

Only a couple centuries ago California was mostly covered in lush naturally evolving ecosystems that surrounded and provided ecological habitat for relatively small settlements of Native Americans. Grizzly bears roamed and redwood forests towered. Now the heavily industrialized state is an over-populated ecologically collapsing mess. Remaining tawdry natural ecosystems are surrounded by an endless sprawl of human filth, and the very climate is abruptly changing.

California’s recent drought and wildfire outbreak is an exemplar of what surpassing a bioregion’s carrying capacity and resultant ecological collapse looks like. For decades naturally evolved ecosystems which make California habitable have been treated as resources to be devoured for industrial development. California’s fragmented and no longer connected natural ecosystems have been further destabilized by abrupt climate change and are no longer able to stably provide human habitat.

Everywhere one looks in California one sees over-populated over-consumption, over-development’s destruction of natural ecosystems, and resultant ecological collapse further worsened by industrial emissions. For four years California has been ravaged by a climate change intensified epic drought. In the worst impacted communities, hundreds of households have no access to running water.
California’s drought, a state of emergency since January 2014, has reached unprecedented levels, the worst in recorded history. The state’s mountain snowpack – which provides 30% of California’s water – is at the lowest level in at least 500 years, 5% of its usual water content. Parts of the state have a four-year precipitation deficit of more than 70 inches. 2015 is expected to be the warmest ever recorded.

Ecologists strongly agree that climate change is linked to California’s wildfires. Human-caused warming is clearly contributing to drier conditions, which make forests more susceptible to burning. One estimate is that 20% of the California’s forest trees are sick or have died from the drought. Record heat has increased evaporation and dried out the soil and tinder dry vegetation has become literally explosive. This has caused harsh wildfires as fragmented and sick forest ecosystems are ablaze.

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