Opinions in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of The Flume
I get a little sappy when I see a predator kill a squirrel. Recently we watched a yearling Bobcat, no bigger than a minute, get two kills within a half hour. So the Golden-mantled squirrel population of 50,000 on our hill has now been reduced by two. Mother Earth at work.
Meanwhile, I read last week’s Republican Perspective in the Flume. Lord have mercy; if my brain were as tiny as a Golden-mantle’s, I’d run for cover. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Sure, the squirrels are diligent in watching for predators in their midst. But the squirrel who does nothing but fear every shadow is a squirrel who will starve to death.
Scouring right-wing media to develop the fodder that goes into the weekly Republican rants would hurt my head. Negativity is one thing. Making it your lifestyle is something else.
The Republican Perspective noted Biden’s poll ratings. Ahem. We certainly don’t want to talk about their great leader’s poll ratings throughout his entire term. That would be silly. Right?
The Democratic Perspective in last week’s Flume addressed climate change. Good for them. A 92-year-old relative lives in Yakima, Washington, where it got up to 117 degrees last month, breaking an all-time record. That reminded me of Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhoff poo-pooing climate change when he took a snowball into the senate chambers in 2015.
The heat dome in the Pacific Northwest was described as a once-in-thousand-year event. Imagine that. Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, said this is worse than a new normal. “We will continue,” he said, “to see more and more extreme heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and floods as long as we continue to warm the planet through fossil fuel burning and carbon emissions.”
I don’t care whether or not you believe the professor’s conclusions. But consider this. America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, is at its lowest level since it was first filled after the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s. Lake Powell, which feeds Lake Mead, is only 34 percent of its total capacity. By next spring, Lake Powell is projected to hit its lowest level since it was filled in 1964, which could jeopardize power generation.
The great Yampa is running out of water from over-appropriation and the effects of climate change. That term “over-appropriation” means too many water-hungry users dipping their hands into a clearly emptying pot. I remember fishing the Yampa with my father years ago. He told me the Yampa was a noble river. “Wild and noble,” he said. I couldn’t help but agree with him. Seems noble and wild are transitory.
We’re currently in an Ice Age - the Pleistocene, which began 2.5 million years ago. Temperatures go up and down during an ice age. We’re currently in a warming cycle called an interglacial period. Many things contribute to a warming period. And the culprit is not the sun. Instead, it’s heat-trapping gasses nearest to the earth. The alarming thing about this is how rapidly the so-called greenhouse effect is raising the earth’s temperature. And, yes, believe it nor not, those greenhouse gasses are primarily the product of human activity.
Colorado’s Western Slope is a tinder box. But, hell, soon we can make a snowman on the other side of the pass. Right? Somebody call Jim Inhoff so he can roll a snowball.
I hope the point is not lost that the up and down temperatures on the earth’s surface are nothing new. For billions of years, climate change has been the norm. What’s not the norm is the rapidity of warming. What’s obvious is human activity is causing the warming. Shouldn’t we, as stewards of the earth, be concerned about that? Shouldn’t we be just a wee bit worried about a once noble and wild river drying up?
The thing is, human beings can rarely see beyond their own noses. Looking ahead a thousand years, hell, even a hundred years, is something few of us are capable of.
There are up and down natural cycles in nature. Generally, for example, the more rabbits you see, the more coyotes you’ll see. It doesn’t take a wildlife biologist to figure out why that is so. Curiously, though, we’ve got a lot of rabbits on our property this year and no coyotes. What’s the glitch? Where are the ‘yotes?
The Yampa is drying up. What’s the glitch? Where is the water?
At the end of the day, the saving grace countering all the nonsense the media and politicians — Republican Perspectives in particular — feed to us is just returning to the Mother.
She’s got two fewer squirrels today than she had yesterday. I’m a little sorry about that, but I suspect Mother will make up for it next spring.
But what about the water?