Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

MY LAST EVER BLOG ON CLIMATE CRISIS, I PROMISE

August 6, 2019

If you get beyond the mere political and performance news and look at what is happening to our planet, survival is THE ISSUE on our crowded Earth.  From microbes to migration of displaced persons, from charcoal to coral reefs, there is constant change and struggle and a feeling that change is bringing an inevitability.  Is it down the drain?  Over the cliff?  Into the abyss?  To even type the word “hope” seems now almost cynical, like urging somebody to go shopping to make themselves feel better.  We are consuming the planet and destroying its ability to support life, ours along with the gorilla, the coral, the right whale, the ponderosa, the banana we love to eat, the Bachman’s Warbler (oh wait, that one’s long gone).

This will be my final catalog of the climate crisis events.  I find I can no longer read and shrug and vow to move on.  It all looks so awful I almost think the author of The Uninhabitable Planet was just having fun and making us feel false hope…even though his opening line is “It’s worse, much worse, than you think.”

No, David Wallace-Wells (author of above), your book doesn’t even approach my imaginings, my pity for my grandkids, my relief that I am old enough not to be around when we hit 3 degrees Centigrade above the old average, or 4 or 6 or…

Here’s some of the recent stuff, each indicative of what we have to look forward to…and I am not even going to mention the Dengue Fever outbreak in the Pacific.  Wait until that spreads like West Nile or Lyme’s Disease have.

Hardly worth noting that July, 2019, was the hottest month on record.

Meanwhile Greenland used to be a sort of ironic name for that icy land.  No more.

In Brazil the authoritarian regime seems determined to deforest the Amazon, bad in too many ways to count.

The oceans and their living ecosystems suffer, from coral and plankton to whales and sharks.  Beyond mere acidification, heat, deadly algae, pollution, oil spills, upheaval of ocean currents…we now find that climate change is inhibiting creatures for communicating and even sensing their watery world.  This tantamount to taking away all the cells phones in a high school.

Bee deaths continue and we are not sure why or what or how or…  I hope I do not outlast almonds and cherries.

Turns out the meteor that crashed to Earth near the Yucatan 66 million years ago was a disaster that almost didn’t happen.  Yet it did for the dinosaurs and millions of other organisms and allowed the conquest of Earth by our mammalian ancestors and avian cousins.  There will be no swerve in the current extinction event.

Cities are particularly vulnerable to climate change.  Too much heat. There is a biological limit to how much heat a Human body can stand and that limit is far below boiling water or baking granola.
And then high water or drought or general social collapse.

Speaking of social collapse.  Human migration will only increase as drought and starvation get worse…it won’t stop at Honduras or Somalia or Syria.  It will be tens of millions of people not mere thousands.

That will cause even more violent nationalism, genocide and racism.  The gunner in El Paso already sees the future as a fight to save his lifestyle from the impoverished hordes because the environment is disintegrating.  Young eco-fascist have leap-frogged the right-wing deniers and grabbed climate crisis as a great reason to kill their enemies.

One bright spot seems to be that the current U.S regime is trying to save us from the worst.  They are blocking information that might upset.  They want to protect us from the unpleasant science that says future crops of rice will far less nutritious because of the heat.  The researcher who did the studies has quit.  Oh well, rice is only the #1 source of starch for billions of people. Let ’em eat cake.

BREAKING RECORDS CAN BE A BAD THING

June 29, 2019

Not only did the French women’s soccer (they call it football) lose to the USA, but the nation saw its highest ever recorded temperature today.  In southern France one town recorded 45.9 degree Celsius (centigrade). Quick conversion for us Yanks, 9/5 x C, plus 32…and you get a Fahrenheit temp over 114 degrees.  Even down in the oven  Sahara they would find that to be warm…and that;s where this weather has come from.

SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVING ARE ON FIRE

June 27, 2019

Europe’s biggest forest fire in two decades.
And some of Europe’s hottest June days in recorded history

Meanwhile, climate emergency declared in New York City.  While Dems debate in Miami on what is now the Florida peninsula, likely to become an archipelago with a storied past.  Not only Florida is in danger, and not only New York City.  Nor all the coastal cities in California.  How about Texas?  That homeland for so many professional oil-enriched climate change deniers?

Yet petroleum does not have to morally corrupt as it has in Oklahoma and Texas, Venezuela and Russia, Saudi Arabia and most of the oily parts of the Mideast…oil wealth can lead to good things if there is a honest and conscientious government.  Norway is green.  We shoud all be green with envy.

Covering the climate can be deadly for reporters.  Or, if your are fortunate, you just lose your job, and rise another day.  Neither is good since the US Department of Agriculture doesn’t want you finding out about the possible damage from a hotter planet.

WILL LIFE ON EARTH OUTLAST THE CURRENT VERSION OF GLOBAL CAPITALISM?

June 24, 2019

There are two easily defined words that should begin and end any discussion of our climate crisis and where the planet is heading:  GREED, EXTINCTION.

In the June 7 Times Literary Supplement has two essays focused on the world economy and the climate.  Joseph Stiglitz reviews three new books on the capitalism of the moment with its self-destructive momentum toward ever-greater concentration of wealth, and use of resources without regard to effects on the planet and life.
His opening sentences: “By now it is clear that something is fundamentally wrong with modern capitalism. The 2008 global financial crisis showed that the system as currently constructed is neither efficient nor stable.”
“…while many of these Friedmanite economists have stayed remarkably quiescent in the aftermath of the crisis, the ideology and sets of beliefs they pushed and that bear significant responsibility for the crisis remain alive and well.”
“Paul Collier… in The Future of Capitalism: Facing the new anxieties proposes a tax not only on urban land – on the rents that accrue as a result of the increased productivity from economic agglomeration in our thriving cities – but on the high-income urban workers who share in that prosperity.”
All three books give prominence to the role of the battle of ideas, explaining how misguided theories have won out from the era of Reagan and Thatcher onwards. Block, for example, details the role played by several misconceptions about our economic and political system, beginning with market fundamentalism (what I refer to in my book, Globalization and Its Discontents, 2002, as the almost religious belief that markets, on their own, are efficient, stable and in some sense fair). He rightly shows that, without government constraints, the rich and powerful shape capitalism to give themselves the advantage, undermining competition and exploiting others, eventually undermining the capitalist system itself. [my emphasis] Adam Smith recognized this, but his latter-day followers often seem to forget it.”
This is where the greed becomes central value of capitalism.  CEOs may hold as much stock as any shareholder and thus driving profits, dividends and stock price matter far more than anything else the company does…as long as it doesn’t get caught.  Even so the CEO just bails with billions.

See Countrywide’s loans before 2008,  Perdue’s pain-killers that were also profitable human killers but marketed as non-addictive, VW’s diesel fraud, Deutsche Bank’s money laundering, see most of the publicly traded companies in the US that make no profit but keep borrowing money to make their quarterly reports look good and bolster stock price.

Stiglitz says the current system must be replaced.

“…creating this new system will only happen through politics – which, in turn, is why the future of capitalism, our democracies and the world are inextricably linked. We’ve seen what misshapen capitalism has done to democracies in the US and elsewhere, and how the resulting electoral perversions then distort our economies. The sad reality is that matters could get worse. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is merely the latest authoritarian on the global scene.

“If we are to achieve an ethical capitalism, we need an ethical politics, which respects the basic tenets of democratic values. Again, that’s not likely to happen on its own. We can see this clearly in the US, where the right has been engaged in a systematic agenda of disenfranchisement and disempowerment – limiting voting for citizens who oppose the right’s ideas, limiting (through gerrymandering) opponents’ ability to translate votes into political power…. This is especially easy in the US, where highly politicized Supreme Court justices on the right read into the Constitution new rights for the wealthy and fewer rights for ordinary citizens: for instance the right of rich corporations to make unbridled campaign contributions while circumscribing the rights of workers to organize or individuals to sue corporations who have abused them[money as speech!]…

“These three books naturally ascribe a key role to the power of ideas. But interests matter as well. Economics is about growth but it is also about distributive battles – and as Trump’s devastating Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 illustrates, the latter proved more important than either ideas or growth. A small state is a handmaiden to these interests. Citizens with economic power simply don’t want a state that would prevent them from exercising that power. Businesses that exploit others don’t want a government capable of preventing them from engaging in nefarious activities, or of redistributing their ill-gotten gains. Oil, chemical and coal companies don’t want a state powerful enough to stop them from destroying our planet.

“In its attempts to circumscribe the state, the right also destroys the ability of a nation to do what it must for all its citizens to prosper… In their selfishness, even those at the top may be hurting themselves: they would be better off with a smaller share of a larger pie, and they, like everyone else, would benefit from a more stable and sustainable economy and society. Not to mention a habitable planet.”

“It is now time to find a path between incrementalism on the one hand and violent revolution on the other. A radical change in economic and power relationships is possible. It is also existentially urgent. This is the only thing that will save capitalism from itself and from the capitalists who would unwittingly destroy it, and the Earth along with it.”

The second essay is by Naomi Klein.   She makes a cogent argument for a Green New Deal.  Environmental and economic problems are  linked and cannot be separated she argues.

“…global emissions continue to rise alongside average temperatures, with large swathes of the planet beset by record-breaking storms and fires. The scientists convened in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have confirmed precisely what those African and low-lying island states long since warned: that allowing temperatures to rise by 2 degrees is a death sentence, and that only a 1.5-degree target gives us a fighting chance. Six Pacific islands have already disappeared beneath the rising seas this century.”
“…Europe, Australia and the United States have all responded to the increase in mass migration – intensified by climate stresses – with brutal force, ranging from Italy’s de facto ‘let them drown’ policy to Donald Trump’s war on an unarmed caravan from Central America. Let there be no mistake: this barbarism is how the wealthy world plans to adapt to climate change.”
Her conclusion is that now, with youthful activism in mind, “when other young people are finding their climate voice and their climate rage, there is finally a handful of political leaders able to receive their message, with an actual plan to turn it into policy. And that might just change everything.”

Greed and extinction.  They go together.  The bumper sticker that pertains: Change or Die.

 

CLIMATE REPORT–2018

November 24, 2018

Every four years American government scientists are supposed to issue an assessment of climate change and its effects.  This one is a doozy.  Here’s National Geographic’s summary: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/climate-change-US-report0/

TINY ISLAND WITH UNCERTAIN FUTURE, PEACEFUL PRESENT

August 12, 2018

Perhaps one of the most relaxed places on earth is endangered a tiny island off South America. No crime, no police, little money.  Peace.

No cars, no traffic besides boats.  No airport, no buses, no lawns and no lawn-mowers. No mosquitoes. Checking on sewer system…

You want to see a short, documentary?  Click here.

NEWS STORIES RELATED TO SAN FRANCISCO’S NATURAL HISTORY

November 30, 2017

Climate change killing off ocean fish.

2019 report on pollution on Treasure Island.  Thanks, U.S. Navy.

In a recent Guardian an article traces the changes made in California’s Silicon Valley since the days of the Ohlone, who got there before the Spanish Empire and their vicious missionaries who came to “convert” and enslave the locals.  This piece does describe the epidemics that nearly wiped out the Indian population.  It does not disclose that even before Europeans and their guns arrived, the Indians had more slowly done great damage to the native wildlife.  Why did Europeans in 18th and 19th Century find a wildlife paradise when they arrived in the Bay Area?  European diseases arrived first and the Indian population had decreased markedly, removing alpha predators, allowing ducks and deer and elk populations to soar.

Scallops, nanoplastics and what we have done to our planet.

Plastic in every human  body.

What climate change has already done…destruction and deaths.

The sixth mass extinction now underway. Over 80% of mammals killed by people.

Climate change: will the west see major emigration?  Smoke the wine industry.  Smoke leads to lay-offs at theatre festival.

Now the transit center next to the troubled Millennial Tower has its own structural issues.  Engineering does not conquer all.

Climate change will make disease and traffic accidents…worse.

Curse of the introduced spartina–a video tour.

August, 2018:  California firefighters on front lines of battle with climate change.

The earth as a hothouse.

San Francisco is a disaster waiting to happen…according to scientists.

July, 2018: Northern Hemisphere overheated.

How we need to get beyond plastics.  So old and out-dated and dangerous.

Earlier springs.

The battle over fuel efficiency standards in California.  Trump Admin comes out in favor of more pollution and more gas guzzling.

The ecological woes of the Central Valley; slumping land, arsenic in the water.

Why plant restoration should be done in stages.

China has stopped being the world’s major plastic buyer.  Oh well, we can always keep dumping it into the ocean…or maybe burn it, sniff that aroma…or bury it where it can last through the millennia and leach chemicals for eons…or maybe we could stop making the stuff?  Oh, sorry, that might hurt some corporate profits.  Oh dear…

How climate change is killing off trees around the globe, including California’s pines.

How badly the world is failing to deal with climate change according to one of the first scientists to sound the alarm…thirty years ago!

How our use of antibiotics has led to superbugs, that we cannot stop, like MRSA and a new strain of gonorrhea.

How robotic tech will alter the food poison industry.  Zap, not spray away.  Why not lasers? I ask?  Or super-heated steam?

National Park Service quietly releases report on climate change and sea level rising.

Two pieces in “Sierra Magazine” on effects and economics of climate change: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2018-3-may-june/feature/the-case-for-climate-reparations

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2018-3-may-june/feature/worlds-sinking-islands-challenge-our-imagination

California has sick and dying Brown Pelicans. 

Now you can watch an animation that lets you see what happens to your favorite coastal area. South of Market goes under water. Martinez will take a drowning as well.  Back east Florida becomes a narrow neck of land.  Sea level rise with climate change…watch it happen on this website, Earthtime. 

American cities losing their trees because of streets, parking lots and construction, i.e. capitalism,  not conservation.

Humans have been destroying other species for a long time.

How cities’ artificial environments speed up wildlife evolution.

Can migratory songbirds adapt to climate change?  Will migration and nature’s changing schedule cause population crises?

Trash vs. whale…trash wins.

New York City joins SF’s lawsuit against fossil fuel companies over climate change.

Scientists look at what climate change could do to California agriculture.

Modern agriculture  messes with environment; nature strikes back in Argentina.

Up to one-third of American wildlife species may be headed to extinction.

Heavy use of antibiotics, polluting planet and helping resistant microbes evolve faster.  Will this bring the demise of people?

Washington State has banned all Atlantic salmon farms in that state.  That follows an accidental but apparently careless release of Atlantic salmon into the wild when netting around a salmon farm broke in 2017.

San Francisco and Oakland vs. five big fossil fuel companies…in climate change lawsuit.

Bay Area biologist, Paul Ehrlich, predicts over-population will destroy civilization.

The heat blob diminishes in the Pacific Northwest.

Pacific plastic pollution worse than earlier estimated.

What’s killing starfish–the science.

San Francisco’s endangered manzanita.

Hot times in the Arctic…bad news for polar bears, coastal cities and life in general.

Drying earth leads to big crack in Arizona’s skin.

NOAA’s 2017 technical report on projected sea level rise in US.

Washington State ousts Cooke Aquaculture from one lease after the firm’s nets broke, releasing thousands of Atlantic salmon.

Dutch man comes up with plant to remove plastic pollution from the oceans.  We need to hurry because most seabirds on the planet are already carrying plastic inside them.  If Bill Gates puts enough of his money behind the clean-up, it could be good news. We need some.

Plastic is just another bad thing we humans are doing to coral reefs.

The ozone layer in the atmosphere is not recovering over cities…likely due to man-made chemicals.   One more self-destructive move by people against themselves.

Capetown dried up due to climate change.

Joys of fossil fuels: gas well explosion in Oklahoma.

2017 one of the three hottest years on record.  Other two: 2015 and 2016.  Get it?

Salmon killing ag chemical protected by Trump Regime.

Poison used by non-organic pot farms threatens wildlife.  I point in my book that poisoning rats in Golden Gate Park killed off the Great Horned Owls and it took them a decade to return.

New York City vs. Big Oil

Noise pollution hard on birds as well as humans.

How animals cope with extreme heat–some die.

Story on the size of 2017’s climate related disasters.

Graphic showing increasing costs of climate change influenced disasters. How long before our lifestyle drives this nation broke?

Leaning tower of San Francisco (Millennium) cited for fire risk.

Modern technology and economy killing the Earth’s oceans.

Oregon sues Monsanto over PCBs, decades after they were banned.

Is there a population problem on earth or is that a silly worry?

Greenland’s melting ice and coastal cities’ future.

Don’t flush those drugs down the toilet or put ’em in the sink or the landfill.

SAN FRANCISCO’S NATURAL HISTORY

November 27, 2017

RECOMMENDED READING LIST:

Abbey, Edward.  Monkey Wrench Gang.

Harper, Kyle.  The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire.

Lifton, Robert Jay.  The Climate Swerve.

Monbiot, George.  Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life

Thoreau, Henry David.  Any or all of his journals.

SAN FRANCISCO IMAGES: AFTER 1860

November 13, 2017

The city in 1864:SF AERIAL--1864Lake Merced, 1868:lake-merced-1868

Plowing the dunes in preparing to create Golden Gate Park, 1870s:GGP-plowing-dunes

1875 map:sf 1875

The city in 1877, looking south over Telegraph Hill:sf--1877

Golden Gate Park as trees take root, 1880, along Ocean Beach:GGP-1880San Francisco, 1890:SF--1890

Golden Gate Park, 1892, for Mid-winter Exposition:GG PARK 18921897 map:sf 1897San Francisco before earthquake:OLD WATERFRONTCutting through sand hill to make Second Street near Rincon Point, before 1900.Second-Street-Cut-1869-A12.28.752nLiving with sand after earthquake:sand hillsTheodore Wores’ painting of dunes looking across to Lake Merced in early 1900s, lupine in bloom where houses now stand:1914San-Francisco-Sand-Dunes-and-Lake-merced

1914, as automobiles begin to dominate the city:sf aeriaL--1914Lake Merced Boulevard construction:LakeMercedBlvdConstruction

Fort Funston, preparing for war. Below that is Lake Merced at top of image with the peninsula leading to today’s golf course visible:Ft_Funston_Cantonment_Areafunston2

Sunset District just after WW2:Sunset_dunes_1947Richmond District today, note the small pockets of private open space between houses:richmond aerialrichmond aerial2Lake Merced today:merced todaySan-Francisco-Natural-Heritage-Map

San Francisco’s Natural History

April 20, 2017

Now I am shipping copies and taking orders.  This title is on sale at Green Apple Books near Sixth and Clement in the Richmond District, also at Alexander Book Company south of Market on Second Street.  This book is available for order from Amazon as a paperback and inexpensive Kindle download.

The San Francisco Public LIbrary system has six copies of the book you can borrow for free.

SAN FRANCISCO’S NATURAL HISTORY
FROM SAND DUNES TO STREETCARS69644847_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7303473


This book sells for $25 with free shipping if you order from me.  See bottom of this blog for related websites and news updates on San Francisco’s environment.

This book traces the changes in San Francisco’s landscape from the days of the Ohlone to the present.  What native species were present when only Native Americans lived here? What animal grazed, flew or swam here? In the wild countryside what natural waterways supported life?  What trees, fruits, and flowering plants would the Ohlone have known and used?  And…what happened to all that after the Europeans arrived? It’s a dramatic cascade of changes, filled with disappearance and devastation, ruin, restoration and rebirth.  As the centuries passed and the cityscape developed and changed, so has the natural landscape and the creatures in it, including us–humans, whose values and actions have altered and shaped everything.

In spite of what amounts to obliteration of the old natural environment, many native species survive and even thrive in the modern city.  “Life” here includes wildlife. Contemporary restoration projects mover forward.  Brown Pelicans and coyotes have been joined by new immigrants like collared-doves and eastern gray squirrels.  Forests of introduced trees today host Red-shouldered Hawks and Hooded Orioles. And yet, there is not stasis and never has been. Now comes climate change.  All is flux.

Through this book, I hope to help provide knowledge and perspective on what has gone before, but also what we now face.  To protect and preserve this peninsula, this beautiful piece of our planet, the decisions we humans must make are not just cosmetic, they are matters of life and death.  People must understand what’s happened and what’s happening in order to avoid repeating devastating mistakes of the past, and in order to proceed wisely and humanely into the future. From open space to micro-plastic pollution, the decisions rest with us.

SOME EXCERPTS

The want of sufficient level space on which to found so great and growing a city, has been partially rectified, at an enormous expense, by taking building ground from the waters, and by lowering, and in many cases absolutely removing bodily the multitude of sand hills, by which the place is immediately surrounded. What with digging out and filling up, piling, capping and planking, grading and regrading the streets, and shifting, and rebuilding, and again rebuilding the houses, to suit the altered levels, millions upon millions of dollars have been spent.                                       –Frank Soule, et al., The Annals of San Francisco, 1855

***

Nature’s plan has evolved through millions of years while man’s plans for the earth cover a short span of time and are very often both selfish and short-sighted.
–Helen Cruickshank, Thoreau’s Birds, 1964


***

Captain Jean François de La Perouse from France was the first European from outside the Spanish Empire to visit California after the founding of the missions and pueblos. In September 1786, he spent time in Monterey. About Monterey Bay he wrote: “It is impossible to describe the number of whales with which we were surrounded, or their familiarity. They spouted every half minute within pistol shot of our frigates, and caused a most annoying stench. We were unacquainted with this property in the whale, but the inhabitants informed us that the water thrown out by them is impregnated with this offensive smell.”

***

            In 1792–1793, Archibald Menzies, the medical officer for the British Expedition, headed by Captain George Vancouver, was immediately taken with the dramatic “broad sheet of water” that is the bay, described in the epigraph to this chapter. The observations by Menzies and other expedition crew are valuable as baseline information about how the area was changed over the decades that followed their visit. During their stay in the fall of 1792, the British sailors reported a large number of waterfowl in the marsh that is now Crissy Field. Menzies describes the area between Fort Mason and Fort Point as a “low track of Marshy Land along shore, with some Salt Water Lagoons that were supplied by the overflowings of high Tides and oozings through the Sandy Beach: on these we saw abundance of Ducks and wild Geese…”  Vancouver mentions large livestock flocks. He is visiting in 1792, less than two decades after the first colonists arrived from Mexico. Yet, already hundreds of domestic animals are ranging across a fragile landscape.

***

1820   Estimated 200,000 northern fur seals killed for their pelts.

1932  First Mockingbird sighted in San Francisco.

***

One of the few surface streams still to be seen in San Francisco runs down Glen Canyon. It constitutes the headwaters of Precita Creek, which joins Islais Creek, named from the Ohlone word for hollyleaf cherry… In 1869 America’s first dynamite factory, the Giant Powder Company, blew up in Glen Canyon. Also, in the late 1800s, the canyon, then known as Rock Gulch, supported a private zoo and amusement park.

***

San Francisco’s original grasslands and coastal scrub are almost gone. Most grassland fell before invasive plants, pavement, housing, and other heavy use. A large swath of coastal prairie in McLaren Park became Gleneagles Golf Course. Fortunately, a parcel of nearly natural habitat survives on the eastern slope of Mount Davidson.

***

Farallones: Research over the past four decades by Point Blue has shown that Common Murres are now breeding earlier in the year, in response to climate change and its effects on upwelling in the California current.

***

Golden Gate Park: In 1870, when this land was set aside by the city government for a park, it was largely sand dunes. Before it was landscaped and planted, there were a few willow-bordered lakes on the site, some squatters in residence, and scattered oak groves in sheltered areas furthest from the windy beach. The most respected landscape expert at the time was Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park. He warned San Francisco these lands outside the city limits were not suitable for a proper urban, forested park. Olmsted’s conclusion about a park in the city was part cautionary, part damning: “There is not a full grown tree of beautiful proportions near San Francisco, nor have I seen any young trees that promise fairly, except, perhaps, of certain compact clump forms of evergreens, wholly wanting in grace and cheerfulness. It would not be wise nor safe to undertake to form a park upon any plan which assumed as a certainty that trees which would delight the eye can be made to grow near San Francisco.”

***

In 2010, the public had no idea that harmful micro-beads of plastic were being put into many consumer products and we were all guilty of spreading them across the planet. The San Francisco Estuary Institute and its partners are now studying the presence of micro-plastics and nano-plastics in San Francisco Bay. This research is being led by Dr. Rebecca Sutton. Her preliminary study found the bay was more contaminated by plastic than the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay.

***

Perhaps most threatening are a group of invasive Asian earthworms first identified on the East Coast and found in Oregon in 2016. The risk from these invaders is that they feed on the surface material in forests, quickly turning leaf litter and fallen plant matter into worm food and then feces. They drive out nondestructive worm species and clear the soil for erosion and desiccation, weakening forests trying to survive climate change and drought.

***

Climate change: Just how bad can this get?  A scientific look back at a previous die-off caused by ocean acidification brings up terrifying images if you value any currently living creature.  Volcanologist Seth Burgess studied the geological and biological changes that took place at the end of the Permian period about 250-255 million years ago.  It wasn’t simply the end of a geological age, it was the end of most living organisms.  Fossil records show that 90% of all ocean organisms and 70% of those on land went extinct. Trees and coral reefs disappeared. 

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Other links pertaining to this book:

Newslinks, stories pertinent to San Francisco’s natural history—present and future.

Table of Contents

Species named in the book

San Francisco images, before 1860 
San Francisco images, 1860 to present