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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?

Other related posts:
Zero-Impact Homes
Making Exterior Sunshades
Learning More about Green Roofs
Relocalization
Highest Tide

What are your eyes telling you about climate change?

23 Responses to “Jeepers Peepers – Where Have You Guys Gone?”

  1. Mike Goad Says:

    What do my eyes see about climate change?

    Climate changes. It always has and always will.

    Man can have a serious impact on local climate, but a lot of things that are blamed on climate change are natural weather variations.

    We’ve lived here for nearly thirty years and, if anything, the climate here has become cooler and wetter overall, though the lake hasn’t frozen over for many years. (Yes, it does get that cold in Arkansas.)

    We still have as many bugs and frogs on a summer night as we did when we moved in here.
    .-= Mike Goad´s last blog ..Summer Blossom =-.

  2. Talon Says:

    There’s a lot of changes. Species of birds that used to migrate, now stick around. There are substantially less bees pollinating.

    The weather here the last few years has been bizarre. We seem to have lost (temporary or permanent is impossible to know yet) the distinct four seasons we used to enjoy. It’s wetter, colder, less sunshine.

    While there has always been aberrations in climate, it would be naive to think that the way humans operate on the planet haven’t had some form of negative impact on the planet. Our trash alone is frightening.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving =-.

  3. Patricia Says:

    Mike,
    I know that the climate changes all the time and there is constant motion – I just think this is the result of man made issues and problems. When expecting 20,000 salmon and now only 5 or 6 arrive because of all the changes – it is overwhelming and fast!

    I lived in Missouri for awhile – I was amazing to go back after a number of years and see all the changes – I did not miss the 110F weather!

  4. Patricia Says:

    Talon,
    There is an artist in Seattle who does art with garbage and photographs the plastic bags etc…and then shows what they look like if all 8 billion were stacked up in one spot….they are around forever…his art has made for a new ad campaign by the State about 1 hour the plastic water bottle is at the meeting and forever in the land fill….

    Charging for grocery bags has made a new difference too…awareness – awareness

    People often think that they do not make a difference, but they truly do….on Sunday there was enough Sunlight through the rain to keep 60# of carbon out of our atmosphere…that is the same as running 41 computers for 8 hours….

    Not using polluting laundry products would return a 1,000 fish to our waters every year.

    I think being at home is a full time job these days if we want some earth for our futures?

    Thank you Mike and Talon for your good comments.
    This is my effort for World Blog Day October 16th…..Al Gore is going to be reading lots of these posts….That would be fun…

  5. Dot Says:

    I think all your peepers must be here in Maryland. It’s amazing the choruses I’ve been hearing in the evenings. 😉 Which does nothing to undermine your point. After we ruin nature, what will be left to get us healthy again?

  6. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    I’m no expert but I tend to agree with those that say it’s not all caused by us. Still, we should make our best to stop polluting and overusing this planet.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Did Karl Lagerfeld Just Call Me Fat? =-.

  7. Meredith Says:

    I’ve seen it, too… and I’ve had some soul-chilling conversations with my grandfather about what he used to experience as a boy in the 1930s. It’s definitely the humans that are causing these changes. The science is clear (I live with a scientist, and I’m beyond convinced, as are most serious scientists). Your intuition is not guiding you wrong here :)

    We have to learn to live in the world differently, and do so very quickly. Or I fear we are facing extinction as a species, not so very far down the line. Fortunately, more and more of us seem to be waking up to the consequences of our behavior as a whole.

    What am I doing personally? Going without AC (in South Carolina), cutting way back on personal energy usage, growing a portion of my family’s food, interacting with the land without any chemicals or poisons, gardening in a way that not only sustains the soil, but enriches it, supporting local farmers who practice permaculture and the ethical treatment of animals, learning to reuse old things and repurpose others, using public transportation, composting, recycling, avoiding the television and other habits of our culture that encourage thoughtless materialism… etc.

    Sorry so wordy — this is practically a blog post in itself. You’ve definitely hit a nerve with this subject!
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..pause (while the rain drums down) =-.

  8. Patricia Says:

    Dot
    I think they are importing peepers from Arkansas and Maryland to help get the Salmon back…but once the environment is ruined….what will we do???

  9. Patricia Says:

    Vered,
    I think there is a climate shift going on that is normal change for the environment – cycle….but I think humans have not been good about their part….especially the “greedy” ones…

    On Sunday was a very cloudy day here…and our little solar panels still kept 70 #s of carbon out of the atmosphere…that is like using 41 computers for 8 hours…

    When I see all the cans and bottles, soap subs and foam pieces floating down from our beautiful mountain, and I have been teaching about safe cleaning products for 26 years…and my neighbors still do not have the message…I weep…

  10. patricia Says:

    Meredith welcome and thank you for your great comments – without AC in So. Carolina…that is a dedication in deed and action.

    I have an organic garden and orchard….in downtown…and I have to have my kitchen and trees certified each year. I sell most of my applesauce to the senior folks because it tastes like real food and like it used too…and helps with the heart medicine burn in the GI track.

    Most of my client are gone now…deceased, but hearing their stories of the changes they have seen.
    My 101 year old friend diet last fall and she and my mum used to wonder at all the things that people are doing to the planet…

    They were the easy one’s to share things they could do to help…my neighbors not so much interest….”oh I am going to die anyway?” well what about grand children? and other futures.

    Thank you for you good comments. Tomorrow is Blog Action Day on this topic….so about 7,000 blogs from 130 countries will be on this topic….along with Al Gore….I was asked to post in the New Zealand time group – looks like a day ahead….:)

  11. Jannie Funster Says:

    I agree with what Vered said. And I do try to do my personal duty in ways that will hopefully add up to quell pollution.

    It is sad about all those magnificent trees gone now. Hopefully more have been planted elsewhere. I saw so much re-forestation at home in Canada, more trees than when I was a child I think.

    And here’s what my eyes see…

    “trees of green…….. red roses too
    I see em bloom….. for me and for you
    And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

    I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
    Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
    And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.”

    There is so much beauty to rejoice in.

    Luckily our frogs are still singing too and a whippoorwill family who has come back for many years now keeps us company.

    I love your line “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.” What beautiful imagery, Patricia. I enjoy your passion and writing talent very much.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Goin’ For The Page Rank Juice =-.

  12. Patricia Says:

    Thanks for coming by Jannie and I know you do a great many things to help the planet…and assist me in laughing…

    Thank you for the kind words on my writing…that is appreciated too
    especially today..

    one of my favorite songs…

  13. Sara Says:

    Patricia — This is a powerful post. Your passion about the climate changes you are seeing reaches out and gives me a punch. Not a bad one…kind like one on the shoulder…a reminder punch.

    While I do as many things as I can to help keep this tiny planet healthy, I must admit I avoid tackling this subject head on like you did. I admire your courage to put it out there and ask us what we are doing for the climate!

    Perhaps I also need to be less of an ostrich and pull my head out of the sand! Thanks for this reminder:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Like Minds: The Love List Project =-.

  14. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    I used to look at the situation like you as well Patricia and over the years I’ve changed and believe some or most is all the circle of life.
    I do my part of recycling, using less etc. but some times we need to let nature be nature.

    I see what Jannie sees…A wonderful world! My favorite song.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..There Is Nothing To Fear =-.

  15. Patricia Says:

    Sara,
    There are just so many little things we can do….and if everyone did a few then we would all be working together in our locals for our future….just switching banks to a local business bank – or getting out of one of the nasty big 4 can bring amazing changes to the folks right around where you live….
    It doesn’t just take solar panels….but hand cleaning bugs off the fruit trees and roses saves chemicals….You will find something just right for you….or just write an inspiring post…your heart is in it too!

    Tess,
    I see that the educational programs that my kids have experienced are so much bolder and more powerful than I received and they do so much more than I do….My daughter is appalled at what happens at U of Michigan and they call it recycling….and reusing…she says that is what they did at her school 20 years ago… It truly no longer believe it is just cyclical and my solar panels are teaching me fast and furiously what I was ignoring.
    My husband has spent 35 years of his career as an architect designing green and sustainable buildings…you would think it is time for our time to come to the forefront….nope the vast majority believe it is just cyclical…..the UK is not waiting around, Denmark is not twiddling it’s thumbs, and the Scandinavian countries are leading the way…Only in the USA are we light years behind.

  16. Eyeteuy Says:

    I get very depressed when the topic of the environment comes up. We have done great damage but we are seeing the light and are making changes.

    For example, I have cut the power usage in my home by 50% in the last 4 years by doing lots of simple and cheap things. CF light bulbs, timers, power bars and insulating outlets and service accesses. All this for under$100. I hypermile my car getting 40-50 MPG.

    There is some encouragement. A farmer sold his land to a developer near my house. He was growing corn but has not planted in 3 years. The developer, due to the economic climate, has decided not to build. So this field has been untouched for 3 years. The plants and animals that have moved in is remarkable. And in such short time. Today I saw a maple tree, a tree! In 3 years. The earth can and will recover but we have to stop doing damage now.

    Your eyes do not deceive. If we pull together we can make a difference. Just think about the hole in the ozone layer. We don’t talk about it anymore because we banned CFCs. An exellent example.

    And to Mike Goad. Even if we are wrong and this is natural. Can it do any harm to stop producing CO2? But if we are right then its a good thing we started now.

    Eyeteaguy

  17. patricia Says:

    Eyeteaguy,
    Thank you for coming on by and writing a comment. Yes we have done lots of little things and our household energy use is way down – of course three girls not showering here any more made a dramatic spike.
    It is so amazing all the little things we can do and change the world- less CO2 would be so great all the way around.

    We also only had 1 car for years and bikes….human powered ones!

    My partner’s work on the new green roof has taught us so much also
    Many thanks for your comment and good ideas. I do think we tend to forget about all we could be doing when a segment gets “fixed”

  18. Evita Says:

    Patricia – I could not agree with you more!!!!!

    Thank you for writing this and for speaking out about your truth. It is a huge inspiration and the world needs to hear more people speak out about this.

    As I have dabbled in some environmental research here and there and taught environmental studies I can provide some scientific proof for the changes we are seeing and how the climate is degrading. But I won’t.

    I won’t because like you, I don’t want to convince people or force them to believe something because “science said so”. The point I am trying to make is that the changes are all around us. It just depends on what people want to see right? Some people simply choose to ignore this phenomenon or perhaps cannot deal with it and choose not to include it in their frame of reference.

    To me it goes down to common sense. I hope nobody takes offense to that – but I really feel this way. For thousands, even millions of years we have lived with the planet in harmony. Our numbers were too small to even make a dent in the changes on the Earth and then, just in the last 100 hundred years we have pretty much turned this planet and its resources upside down. Gone are the days where we can think we are too small to have an impact. We are having a HUGE impact on this planet and it is giving us many clues to change our ways along the way.

    But of course we can choose to listen and change or ignore the signs until they are so big that we can no longer ignore them.

    Yes, I will be the first to say that the sun is changing, our planetary alignment is changing and this all has a part to play in some of the changes on the planet today. But neither the sun, nor the Universe filled the waters, air or soils with toxic chemicals. WE did it and it is time to start taking accountability for our actions.
    .-= Evita´s last blog ..5 Natural Supplements To Quickly Boost Your Immune System =-.

  19. Patricia Says:

    Evita,
    I thank you for your comments – I do not wish to force anyone to believe anything…but I just want to live with my eyes wide open and act upon my truth
    I just can’t live in ignorance or lies any more…My children have been great teachers and I like that they could see so clearly…

    I miss the peepers music

  20. BunnygotBlog Says:

    I think we have to do our part and take into consideration recycling. Thinking green is best but still we have to deal with what has already been done before our sudden interest.
    I don’t have children yet but I still will do my best to provide a safe planet.

    Now I will throw this out to you because you are a woman of wisdom. In 2012 the Mayan calendar says the Milky Way and the Sun will be in line and this will effect the Earth. I am not sure what the Milky Way does but it will be interesting to how we are effected by this.
    .-= BunnygotBlog´s last blog ..I Put A Spell On You =-.

  21. Patricia Says:

    Bunny,
    I keep reading about the 2012 event – so far the only thing I understand about it is the idea that there will be many alignments in the atmosphere. I keep thinking it will be a positive thing and I avoid the scary movies!

    My niece has spent years studying black holes and growth…my partner keeps designing green…and we tried to teach our children energy efficiency and recycling…so that we can all have a spot on the earth…

    I like to read how much carbon we offset each week, and I like leaving the earth tidy and ready for the future…rather be a care giver than a domination freak….my spirit is all wrapped up in the earth…feel like I am just borrowing the experience and don’t want to ruin it for the next generations.

    There are better bloggers who are writing about 2012 – I keep reading what they say and then thinking about it while working on getting birds and peepers back to my world
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..An Invitation to a HARVEST POTLUCK =-.

  22. SnaggleTooth Says:

    This year we had a torrential spring n summer until August. For the first time in years the peepers were abundant, n the honey bees have been out in force after being almost invisible for many warm seasons past- definately tied to the drought.

    I think we can’t replace the cut trees with a similar quality growth, because the air, water, soil nutrient, n light conditions they grew in for hundreds of years is no longer available- The industrial age burnt it out-

    Hundreds of years to grow- one day to devastate. very sad. I love trees-
    .-= SnaggleTooth´s last blog ..Off n Flying =-.

  23. Patricia Says:

    SnaggleTooth,
    I think you are right about the trees and plants not being the same…our crab apple trees reverted from all the car exhaust fumes they were exposed to and we had to take them out – except for one, which remains stunning.

    No peepers for us again this year and our minor bees (not sure of the spelling) are just drawing cards for the sapsuckers….we keep trying :)
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Book Review: Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER Series =-.