New Weather and You

The planet is always changing, Gaia knows. Remember that our ancestors lived through The Ice Age. They may have shivered but they made some magnificent art.

We are beginning to see The Warm Age induced by greenhouse gases. More and stronger hurricanes and cyclones, extended rains, heavy snowstorms…as well as mounting heat spells and drought in many places. “Climate change” is a good term but “Earth change” may be even better. Seas rising, shorelines disappearing, ocean currents shifting, permafrost releasing methane… a steadily growing list. Add habitats undergoing transformation and species migrations that we haven’t seen yet.

What about us? What portents for the human species? Should we start to migrate too as our habitats change? Hold on! Don’t get panicked into an apocalyptic-minded therapy group, or even worse, terrorized to join some World Doom religious cult. As early as the Sixties, Australian government campaigns calmly addressed the Ozone Hole over the Antarctic by advising hats, sunscreen and long sleeves to ward off harmful effects from direct solar radiation. There were even regularly specified work breaks to get out of the sunlight and contests to design the most ecological overhangs to shade sidewalks. We are notably ingenious creatures even if a bit hyper-nervous.

We won’t reverse climate change, as some mistaken messiahs claim. It was recognized too late and not enough has been proposed to halt it. The Kyoto Protocols if they were ever signed by the major CO2 producing nations would only slow it down. We won’t prevent it anymore than we can prevent earthquakes. Reducing climate change, that’s probably doable. Living with it, that’s going to be absolutely necessary.

So, Life Proceeds in The Warm Age. Let’s start with this fall.

First of all, none of us live on the whole planet. We all live some place. A life-place or bioregion. Northern California (including San Francisco) is in Shasta Bioregion. Why is this significant?

Our climate and weather are fairly unique on earth. It is wet in the winter, dry in the summer and fall. (Interestingly, it is termed “Mediterranean” because the same conditions prevail there. Also on parts of the Pacific Coast of South America, the Cape Town area of South Africa, and the southwestern coast of Australia. Our bioregional cousins?) Fall is usually dry and gets progressively drier until rains come again, probably by December. Look for brown hillsides of dead grass to give evidence of this condition. Will it be hotter and drier in fall than usual this year, or in the future? That’s a change to check out. (Winters may already be wetter, so year-round drought may not necessarily follow a drier summer and fall.)

There’s a tremendous range of other possible changes. Wildfires could get more frequent and larger, crops can mature faster, salmon runs may get smaller with warmer water, and northward bird migrations might start later. Many of the major bioregional features — California Current, coastlines, climate and weather, soils, watersheds, native plants and animals — could reflect lesser or greater changes.

Here’s the best bioregional approach for coping with climate change. Learn the major natural characteristics of Shasta Bioregion (an easy way is to contact San Francisco’s own Planet Drum Foundation They are the ultimate home ground for fitting into this life-place. Become involved with restoring and maintaining those basic supports for human survival, and finding sustainable ways to satisfy basic needs including food, water, energy, material resources, and others. For example, identify the sources of renewable energy that are locally available and appropriate. Then apply them to your personal situation. Same with food, water, transportation, removing wastes, and the rest. Next, join or start your own Community Sustainability Planning Group. This doesn’t require a graduate degree, just a spirit of interdependence with other people and life forms. Don’t leave out art and education since they may prove to be the saving inspiration for undertaking the whole process.

Relocalize to the bioregion!

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