Last week I saw robins and bluebirds in upstate New York where they don't usually arrive before April. Crocuses and daffodils were in bloom everywhere. A friend ate asparagus he harvested in the normally frozen Catskills in the first week of January. Turtles in downstate New York, like bears in Scandinavia, forgot to hibernate for the first time in human history.
For those last stubborn holdouts still skeptical about the existence of global warming--e.g., CNN's chief corporate fascism advocate Glenn Beck, who broadcast another of his denial tirades last week--and to those who exalt the warmer weather as preferable to a snowy winter, consider the impacts on our fellow creatures. Last April an early spring in Wyoming's Teton Range caused horseflies to arrive early. The young Redtail hawks, who were still unfeathered, were devoured in their nests by the voracious bloodsuckers. Not a single baby Redtail survived to fledge in the Jackson Hole valley.
The macro impacts of global warming--catastrophic storms, flooded coastlines, melted icecaps, shrinking glaciers, dwindling water supplies and agricultural disruptions are finally getting some attention by America's lethargic press. But the seismic shifts in global weather patterns are already dramatically altering the local ecosystems that for eons have defined America's landscape. Nature has achieved a balance that has been relatively stable for 20,000 years. The reliable milestones of its annual rhythms--like flowers blooming and robins returning in the spring, and animals hibernating in winter--form the pulse and fabric of the passing years. They connect us to our history, give context to our communities and form the foundation of American culture, our art, literature, poetry and architecture.
The recent disruptions to animal and plant behavior are evident to anyone except for ideologically blinded right-wing flat-earthers and Exxon/Mobil's political and media toadies like Michael Crichton, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.