Chip Notes: November-December, 2017

Kirland’s Warbler, Joel Trick, USFWS

My son and I took an epic road trip this August through Canada using Parks Canada’s national park pass. The day we arrived in the Yukon Territory the temperature was 94 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Northwest Territories, I swam in the Great Slave Lake. It was warmer than Lake Superior. The Native Dine people speak about the ominous heat of the last two summers. We did a big figure eight, came back from the high latitudes via the national parks in southern Alberta and British Columbia.

Dry dry dry.

Smoke from fires in British Columbia prevented a clear view of the mountains. Sections of Yoho and Mount Revelstoke National Parks closed due to active fires. We walked on the Columbian Icefield in Jasper, thrilling, but much diminished. We ended our national parks tour in Glacier National Park, Montana. Glaciers there, but so diminished they didn’t really make the experience for us. I feel we threaded a needle; we could see a couple of small fires the park was “keeping an eye on.” After we left, they turned into conflagrations.

Dry dry dry.

Canada bears a lot of the blame for global warming, despite its small population. You can’t drive through the prairie of Saskatchewan or the oilfields of Alberta and British Columbia without being confronted by agribusiness and petrodollars. Public radio is complicit. Every news item concerning Native Americans was preceded and followed by oil industry ads.

We all know the Earth has passed the threshold into a new reality. The hurricanes of 2017 are historic, and will be followed by the hurricanes of 2018 and 2019 and 2020 . . . . The Caribbean Islands and Gulf Coast may become uninhabitable. Will even the wildlife be able to survive if islands are continuously scoured of vegetation by hurricanes? There go wintering songbirds. There goes the Kirtland’s Warbler. The historic wildfires of 2017 throughout western North America. The high temperatures and new (lack of) moisture regime will continue. There is no refuge.

We could still do much to mitigate the impacts. But our leaders play. Truly they are execrable. We won’t mention the travesty that is our Presidential politics, and the damage currently in the EPA and the Agricultural Department, etc. I will mention just how diligently Rep. Nolan – DFL, is working tirelessly to desecrate Minnesota’s water’s, and Minnesotan’s right to due process and public input in environmental affairs — all to benefit the avarice of a multinational corporation.

What makes a public servant go rogue like this? It’d be nice to think the Democratic party politicians would be allies; few Republicans (name one) currently are. Nolan has apparently found a more rewarding constituency?  Being a steward of the environment, thinking unto the 7th generation so our descendants have a world to inherit. Doesn’t seem rewarding to so many in politics and industry. Why? Imagine if our governor was not an honorable public servant? We could have Flint’s water throughout Minnesota as well. Michigan’s governor simply does not care. Neither does Nolan, apparently.

Our leaders play games.

The heat rises.

The oceans roar.

The world burns.

Species go extinct.

Cultures die.

Fight people. Fight with all you’ve got!

Matthew Schaut

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