Earth Day 2021

It is not my nature to express opinions of a political nature, but on Earth Day, I believe there are things to say that go beyond politics. So much that we take for granted, is threatened. Climate change is real and has been accelerating. We have entered a time period where biodiversity is severely threatened and species are disappearing at an alarming rate. World wildlife populations have been reduced by about 50% in the last 40 years. We are on the brink of the sixth mass extinction in the history of the planet. Are we taking notice? Political pronouncements of the last week have been encouraging. However, recent history has seen that similar announcements made in the past have not resulted in any significant change in behaviour. Will it be different this time?

Rhinoceros, in South Africa. Kruger National Park. Several sub-species have become extinct in the last few years. This is a very threatened species.
Whooping crane. Photo taken in Indiana. On the brink of extinction. In the west, populations have increased somewhat. In the east, the number of whooping cranes in the wild is less than 100. Despite being protected, the biggest loss is from shooting.
Ice melting on the Columbia Icefield. The retreat of this glacier is dramatic and is marked on a year by year basis. Even more dramatic is the retreat we witnessed at Bear Glacier on the BC / Alaska border which we first visited in the early 1980’s.
Even bees are threatened by the use of neonicotinoid fungicides, now banned in much of the world.
The woodland caribou (this photo was taken in Newfoundland), is in serious decline throughout most of its range.
Some 40 years ago, international cooperation reduced acid rain dramatically. At the time, it was seen as the most important environmental problem. This has been important for preservation of temperate hardwood forests. The photo above is of maple flowers from the broad-leaved maple.

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