Friday, March 11, 2011

Shallow Thoughts on Deep Topics...

... are, as regular readers know, the specialty of the house here at Oak Watch!

I am old enough to have worried about the ice age.  No, not the woolly mammoth sabertooth tiger ice age, Mr. Smarty Pants.  I mean the next ice age.

As a kid in the 1970's I saw a program on TV with scientists expressing concern about how decreasing temperatures indicated that we might be heading for the next ice age.  I must have expressed some concern of my own, because I remember my older brother telling me not to worry, since the ice age would be thousands of years away and I'd long since be dead by then.  I think this was meant to reassure me.  It didn't. Instead I now had two things to worry about: freezing to death and pondering, for the first time, my own mortality.

Climatologists have it easy.  Since we are always either warming up after one ice age or cooling down on the way to the next one they have a 50% chance of being right.  And, of course, as my brother so kindly pointed out, we'll all be dead by the time anyone knows for sure.

Better yet, call it Climate Change and be right 100% of the time.  What a racket! 

My point, and I do have one other than to simply poke fun at people who are ten times smarter than me, is to begin to set a context for a series of upcoming posts about an issue about which I have deeply held and contradictory beliefs: native plants, and specifically native oaks.

This series on climate change and native plants is really a race against time:  Can I commit all my chicken scratch ideas into coherent (well, semi-coherent) posts before I am no longer able to read my writing and remember what I was thinking at the time?  Or will global solutions get sacrificed on the alter of bad penmanship?  Stay tuned! 

To remind myself, I do intend to cover, among other things, the great oak migrations, Thor Heyerdahl, paper birch, the problem with global warming and corn versus oak.

It's a topic that pits the entire reason I got into forestry in the first place - to preserve and restore the native forests I grew up in but which were lost in a wave of suburban development - with what I hope to accomplish with the rest of my career - to restore the oak as a staple food source for humankind, rather than soil-killers like corn and soybeans.

The fun starts Monday.  So do my posts.

1 comment:

  1. Chris,
    I look forward to your musings (rants?) starting Monday!

    A thought before you get going - some climatologists have couched their prognostications by saying that the climate always changes; what's different these days are the rate of change (in the wrong way) and the fact that, based on orbital mechanics, we should be heading into an ice age.