Jeepers Peepers – Where Have You Guys Gone?
World Blog Day October 15, 2009: Climate Change
I am not a scientist or a researcher on climate change. I am a great observer and I love the little details of life and living.
I would like to share some of the lessons that my greatest teachers have shared with me. My greatest teachers have been my children and since they went to ecology elementary school, I choose to share their gems of wisdom today.
20 years ago when we moved into this old house, we heard about a meteor show that we could see right from our backyard. So we all took out blankets and lay prone on the old deck to gaze skyward and see the falling stars. A few minutes into this study, one of my children said, “You know if those frogs were not singing so loudly we probably could see the stars falling!”
I know that she probably thought the Peepers – or Chorus Frogs were frightening away the stars because they were so loud and dominant, but her comment grounded us in our local knowledge. We had a stake in those Peepers.
I don’t see no p’ints about that frog that’s any better’n any other frog.
~ Mark Twain
Another child was angry when she learned that the Pacific Northwest frogs were overwhelmingly deformed on the Sound and near the large farms, and the Petroleum Processors. She brought home the news from school that our seagulls were producing very few viable eggs and the vast majority of them were now in same-sex mating patterns.
It is no wonder to her that instead of tens of thousands of salmon coming home to spawn we can count the returnees on one hand.
Three years later there was hardly a peep – absolutely nothing even resembling a chorus, and 20 years later there has been silence for years. The bird population has made an observable change and the animal species that have moved in are coyotes which make a dreadful racket when mating in the spring and attack all the other critters in our neighborhood.
In the 1980s I was driving car pool and in the morning we went by the forest that proudly marked the start of the country-city limits. Majestic Evergreens stood tall and robust and drank 500 gallons of water a day – each one. On the afternoon carpool trip, we ventured past those trees to see that the whole area had been logged during the day. There were 5 scraggly small firs marking a boundary remaining. This action moved my oldest child to tears and a great sadness. She experienced a profound grief for the loss of that grand forest right before her eyes and within a single day her life was changed.
The strip malls and large mall which have gone up on that forest land now must also have pumps to manage the water runoff and a whole park which becomes the holding reservoir for the thousands of gallons of rain that has nowhere to go except into the businesses, hundreds of apartments and homes adjoining.
The city hurries to plant hybrid street trees which are deciduous and create a whole other series of problems. I wonder how well they clean the air and control the flooding?
Mount St. Helen’s eruption was a science lesson in our face. One can still find piles of ash in the corners and furnace filters. The largest change I can see is in Mt. Rainer and its glaciers. 60 years ago as a child I could describe the mountain as an ice cream cone of smooth, deep white presentation with craggy lesser peaks of the Cascades – always having drips of snow in view.
Yesterday in October, there was no snow on any of the adjoining peaks and the purple –blue shadow places were far more dominant that the white pristine scoop. This I can witness with my bare eye; my children have no problem claiming the changes and seeing with their clear vision.
They understand how polar bears might have to keep swimming for miles and miles to survive, when once the ice shelves were near enough.
I am not a scientist, rather an observer. I can hear the difference, I can smell the difference, I can see the difference and I can feel the difference.
We do not need 27 words for rain for 3 or 4 will describe it now – primarily when it rains it pours. As a child about every 7 years we had snow; we have had larger and larger amounts of snow every year for the past 7 years. We have had a drought period every year.
The meteorologists now describes traditional patterns and current patterns and the Park Rangers talk about when the parkway will be underwater and how long it takes for vegetation to catch up with the receding glacier movement. We just scratch our head and wonder how our garden will grow.
Our pure and lovely artisan well water is now pumped in and chemically treated before it arrives at our tap, which is outfitted with a filter to remove the chemicals denying us health. Everyone has fluoride treatment on their teeth now, and allergies and asthma….and plastic bottles fill up the landfills.
I have not charts and graphs and proof texting data – I have only my life to measure and my children’s future to gage.
In my heart, I believe in climate change and not just cyclical change. I am pointing my finger at the human species for the rapid and dynamic changes that are occurring – right before my eyes.
I am not waiting for an expert’s expertise….I am acting now – how about you?
What are your eyes telling you about climate change?