Beaver People

Today dawned overcast and warm, the humidity palpable. The wind is now whipping the trees in gusts. We just took a look at the radar; it looks as though things will soon get stormy. Certainly we need the rain.

While trees are predominantly green, some leaves are beginning to put on fall color; the Japanese maples are already at early mid-stage. The grass in our yard is longish but its growth has slowed to a September crawl. In the garden the peppers and summer squash have come back and are being generous.

I’ve been mulling over our current collective existential predicament. It’s odd to think that Nature created a species that believes it is not Nature and treats the rest of Creation accordingly. Of course there are those who believe this is a good thing, that we are now free to roam the universe, ever extending our domain like the Borg. The fact that science suggests this is unlikely has no apparent impact on such thinking, and in the meanwhile we have truly fouled our nest.

It seems likely we have passed, or will soon pass, a good many tipping points for climate, species extinctions, and the availability of a wide array of resources including oil and gas and land and water.

After flipflopping for a few decades, the new consensus is that the North Atlantic Permacline will likely shut down in the near future, throwing Europe, and possible northeastern North America into deep freeze even as the poles continue to melt.

Early on in climate study folks postulated that our warming the planet would bring on the next ice age. As our knowledge grew, and models became better, it became apparent that runaway heating was a much morel likely outcome. A climate modeler friend likes to quip that global climate change in the direction of warming at least averts the arrival of that now overdue ice age. Given ice ages appear to develop quite quickly, and displace a great many people, he may well have a point.

One thing that is clear is that we are being busy beavers, altering our environs for our short term comfort. Of course, unlike us, beaver have been around a long time and have become an essential part of many fresh water ecosystems, their hard work now benefiting a host of other species. (They were nearly extirpated during the North American fur trade with disasterous results.) I wonder whether we might yet learn from the beaver and begin to benefit all life while making ourselves at home. We’ll see.

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