Earthday Special : Parks and Global Warming Report

Glacier National Park Entrance Sign : Sullivan PhotoHappy Earthday. Kind-of a strange thing to celebrate, specifically because every Earthday message I see ends with a phrase along the lines of "if only everyday were Earthday", implying that we could save the world if only we'd pay attention more often. Maybe that's true. And at least in the last year it seems that there has been more attention paid to the health of the earth, especially its health as it relates to global warming (or as the polluters describe it 'climate change').

I've got another audio report here from National Public Radio. This one was aired on the 20th for Science Friday. The program is called "How Will Climate Change Affect the World's Parks?" -- follow that link to listen, or download via iTunes. The show runs almost 22 minutes long. Guests of the program are Lee Hannah and Lisa Graumlich. Topics cover decreasing snow packs, increasing drought, increasing wildland fire, and disappearing flora and fauna. They discuss how the parks should manage for these changes, including adding migration corridors and the possibility of adding more land into the agency. Just after 10 minutes into the program, the discussion turns to Glacier National Park. The guest says that as the glaciers in the park melt away, rivers and streams within the park warm up, which then change the type of fish that can survive there, which then has a ripple effect down the food chain on animals which rely on that fish.

And now for something completely different, but still Earthday related, check out last Friday's Rocketboom. This is one of my favorite daily visits on the web. Once a day these guys produce a short and sweet 3 minute video for all to enjoy. Their Earthday episode is a cute, simple story with a strong message, plus the music is great. I love watching the host try to get through each layer of the printer ink packaging. I've heard that type of plastic-pack is supposed to prevent shoplifting, but for us poor consumers it is very tough to break through, and for the poor earth the extra packaging creates an extra mound of trash. Few words in the story, but very thought provoking.
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Lisa Graumlich was, earlier in the week, the opening keynote speaker at the George Wright Society conference in St. Paul, attended by about 900 people, most of whom are national park resource managers, superintendents, rangers, or those deeply interested int eh parks, including academic and other agency researchers. She was eloquent and compelling on the topic of the impact of climate change on the national parks. The GWS is a terrific non-profit organization that does not call attention to itself but it deserves recognition. No other organization does as much for park resource management and protection; the conferences are the most intellectually stimulating meetings I ever attend.
Forgot to give the web site for those interested in the George Wright Society:

http://www.georgewright.org