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Climate Change Mistiming

Caterpillars in the TreeBy Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Naomi Klein’s article, The Change Within, published in Cascadia Weekly was a great way to illustrate the issues with timing that climate change is causing. The key illustration is when animals who have not adjusted as quickly to the changing weather patterns have missed their usual food source. For example, birds that hatch at their usual time would now miss the caterpillars that sprang into action weeks earlier.   This climate-related mistiming means that the young animals that are born cannot be fed. Klein likened this to the human animal and how the information for climate change came out when consumerism was taking hold. That was our mismatch.

The changes to the climate are more noticeable when you’re rooted in one place. For example, NPR recently looked at Henry David Thoreau as a Climate Scientist. What I was not aware of was how detailed Thoreau’s notes were so that when we look at what he wrote and what we’re currently experiencing we find that the pond thaws two weeks earlier and the birds are responding more slowly to the changes in the start of the season than the trees. The life that is not flexible in response to these changes decline.

I see this change in my own yard. I pointed out a rose as a bud ready to pop open into tight spirals and my husband notes, as the resident expert, they are early this year. If you are not rooted in one place it is hard to realize the change is taking place. For those who have moved locations to return home it might even be more shocking to see the changes in your environment.

In what ways do you see and experience the change in climate? In what ways have you notice the life around you responding to these changes?

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