“Lynx are good sentinel species for climate change,” says Dan Thornton, an assistant professor in Washington State University's School of the Environment.. “They are like an early warning system for what’s going to happen to other climate sensitive species.”
The choke cherry’s beautiful bark is its claim to fame. Native people used strips buffed to a gorgeous copper to imbricate designs on baskets.
Fifty years later, we seem to be approaching another important transition, pushed by the dual threats of a second Trump term and fear of global pandemic. Democrats have been slow to mount an aggressive climate-change agenda, and the dominance of pandemic news and fears does not bode well for climate to influence the November election.
Here in the Pacific Northwest -- at least the dank western part of the region -- planting trees seems a natural. If there's one thing we can do here, it's grow trees. And we should. But not every place is Western Washington or Oregon. And even here, there are caveats.
The trouble we face now isn’t that carbon dioxide is an alien force, or even in and of itself problematic. There is just too much of it. And more all the time. And way too fast.
The living world shifts beneath our feet. It took 10 years, but the snails followed us across the region...
One might wonder why Native stories wished for more rain in damp, dark Seattle, but spring floods signal salmon to return to spawning rivers where people caught them.
Seattle, which has declared its desire to cut carbon emissions in the region, has instead fallen behind, coming up well shy of its reduction goals. One of the big culprits? Phenomenal growth in air traffic in and out of Sea-Tac, where passenger traffic increased from 34.8 million in 2013 to 49.8 million in 2018, an annual growth of about 8 percent.
Can Washington manage its vast forests in part to, say, slow climate change or protect drinking water, or must it manage them exclusively to generate money for public school construction and the budgets of cash-strapped counties? This question is not merely rhetorical.
Lumbermen in a few decades scythed away our forest cover that was a wonder of the world. Centuries must pass before any of that grandeur returns.