Image by sniggy via FlickrToday is Blog Action Day 2009, also referred to as "BAD09". You're probably asking, "What the heck is Blog Action Day?" Since I just found out about BAD09 only two days ago, I was asking that very same question. In a nutshell, BAD is a day when bloggers all over the world post a blog on the same topic. (You can read more about it here.) The topic for BAD09 is "Climate Change."
Just think - I get to participate in a worldwide Topical Blog!
The downside of this topic is that it is not one that I have followed with much interest. I don't know the facts concerning global warming, except that there are some scientists who say that it is a myth. I don't know if we are in a current long-term era of climate change, or what the direct causes would be, if we are. I suppose that the only "climate change" issue I can speak of would be the short-term ones, specifically the short-term one that California has seen in recent years: drought.
I am not in any way suggesting that the current California drought is the "worst" drought that the world has ever seen. We are so spoiled here. But it has opened my eyes to some effects that long-term climate changes can have.
One impact that our water shortage has had is in the area of farming. The Great Central Valley of California produces incredibly vast numbers of crops, both in volume and in diversity. Yet there are farmers who have had to deal with water rationing, and in some instances have not had sufficient water to grow crops. On the short-term, local level, this has hurt the local economy with higher food prices. If that same scenario were escalated to a global level over a period of many years - worldwide water shortage, with farmers unable to produce enough for their local economies - the end result could manifest itself in a worldwide famine, with dwindling hope of relief.
Another impact of a severe water shortage and dry conditions have had on our local level has been the increased risk of wildfires. Six weeks ago a wildfire started in Southern California that burned over 160,000 acres (that's 250 square miles, more than half the size of the city of Los Angeles!). While the official cause of the fire was determined to be arson, the lack of rainfall certainly contributed to the amount of dry brush on the hillsides to fuel the fires. The cost of this one fire? 89 homes, three commercial properties, 104 outbuildings and two communications sites either damaged or destroyed.
Unfortunately, fire damage is not limited to just property loss. Along with the homes being destroyed, families lost belongings, some which can never be replaced. Wildlife lost their natural habitat, forcing them to "invade" developed residential neighborhoods. In fact, in my suburban Los Angeles neighborhood about 50 miles south of the burned area, we are being warned of coyote sightings because of the wildlife migration. And this particular fire has not been the only devestating fire in Southern California in recent years. In 2007 the Southern California wildfires burned over 770 square miles, destroyed entire towns in some mountain areas, injured 85 people, killed nine, and forced over 1,000,000 people to evacuate their homes, many of whom had no home to return to when it was over.
I could go on and on about why regular rainfall is so important. Again, I have not studied the long-term global effects of the climate changes. However, being part of this Blog Action Day has brought the issue to my attention, and perhaps the attention of a reader or two.