quinta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2010

Where are the wild things today?

Amongst so many other things global climate change may also be causing the extinction of cryptozoological and enigmatic animal species as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman and even the Brazilian Mapinguari.  In the case of the Loch Ness Monster- popularly described as a modern-day descendent of a marine dinosaur, the Plesiosaur- the world’s foremost authority on the subject is already extinct.  Scientist Robert Rines died last November (2009) but not before claiming the last of the “nessies” probably died in the late 1980’s, not long after his specialized cameras and sonar systems captured the most exciting, and conclusive, photographs of Nessie ever. Ever since those grainy, peat-spotted, color photographs of the (first) neck and head, and (then) the entire body-in-flight sightings of the Scottish sea serpent have become as rare as ever.

The most extreme examples of global warming are being seen (naturally enough) in the coldest, most inhospitable places on Earth, the polar regions of Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic. The least effects of global warming- though surely the effects are being felt all over the planet- appear around the equatorial band (the tropics). No doubt this has everything to with the fact that the tropics already experience a wide range of extremes naturally- a profound rainy season normally balanced by a marked dry season. The effects of global warming are perhaps only better disguised in these tropical climes. Common to both seasons after all are consistently warm, though not necessarily hot, temperatures and, more importantly, high levels of humidity and rainfall.
Alarmingly, global warming and climate change are also wrecking havoc on what have historically been the most stable and livable regions on our planet, the temperate zones. Here most of the world’s population lives. Most of that population lives near coastal regions that are already hard hit by climate change and will only be harder hit as time passes. Where once reigned four equal seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall) now occur four apparently out-of-control seasons, each with its own now peculiar extremes. What before defined each season by its agreeable moderation and sublime character now disfigures each season by its exaggeration and extremity. Around the world winters are now characterized by record snowfalls or no snow fall at all. Spring and fall bring crippling rainfalls and devastating floods. Summers bring killer heat-waves and never-ending wildfires.
So what is wiping out the magical monsters of our childhood? Year-round forest fires threaten the once impenetrable sanctuary of the American Bigfoot. Ice melt and lack of snow in the Tibetan Himalayas have left the Abominable Snowman with nowhere to hide. And in Scotland? Higher water temperatures would suggest Nessie has been forced from her cold, protective depths and over-exposure (literally) has left her vulnerable.
Creatures known and unknown are being annihilated at a frightening rate now as the wildlands that once supported, protected and (in many cases) hid them are being destroyed. Until recently the threats to our planet’s most dynamic ecosystems were easily identifiable and could be countered through direct action. Today the threat is in the air and in the water, in forms we have no way of containing. The highly adaptable Amazon has for a long time withstood the assault of lumber companies, cattle ranches and soy plantations. Today destruction as a result of global warming looks more like a virus and there seems little we can do to reign in this omnipresent wave of violence. Before we can even confirm the existence of something as amazing a the Mapinguari (Brazil’s Giant Land Sloth) we may start losing the monsters we already know in Amazonia and elsewhere: the turtles, whales, alligators…and so many, many more.      

Um comentário:

  1. Good post! Thanks for sharing Mark. I've often wondered about the role of cryptozoology in our collective imaginations. But not thought about the impact of climate change. Might make the basis of an interesting tour!