They're So Cute!


"Melty & His Penguin Pal, Drip" From The Ryskind Sketchbook

I suppose by now you've read that in listing the Polar Bear as endangered, every federal action that even theoretically leads to a greenhouse gas emission has become theoretically subject to the US Fish & Wildlife service --and to environmentalist lawsuit. (Yay, more litigation!) Here are two backgrounders to understand the implications of this seemingly innocuous listing. (I mean who doesn't want to save cute polar bears?) The fact that science has had no clue, ever --not in the 60s, not in the 70s and still not today-- how many bears there are seems to have had no bearing on the decision making. (Did you know that something called TEK is used in many reports? TEK being "traditional ecological knowledge," meaning what locals say. So if Eskimos or Greenlanders report seeing fewer bears, that's a sign of endangerment? Maybe the bears just thought people made bad neighbors.)

There's also some evidence the polar bears are decreasing in the same sense the chocolate ration was constantly increasing in 1984. Oh well, at least we have one post-partum mom to stand in the breech and save Western civilization.

I have a different question which in this context will sound snarky, but I'm asking. Do people who fear climate change not believe in evolution? A couple of days ago I caught this breathless report on the radio about the water levels in the Chesapeake Bay rising 1-2 feet in the next 20 years, which would destroy some habitat (I didn't catch whose, but some kind of shellfish I think). Let's stipulate for the moment that this sea rise is going to happen. It's going to happen gradually, right --not all at once? I understand that a sudden 1-2 foot rise might drown some wee beasties, but if it happens a fraction of an inch at a time, won't the habitat simply creep forward a fraction of an inch at a time as well? Even if you're dumb as a clam, don't you know how to stay in your optimum water level on a daily basis? After all, changes in sea level --even dramatic ones-- happen throughout the year (6-7 hurricanes typical) and everyone seems to adapt. I don't see why anything at all would change except that homeowners would lose part of their front lawns. (Which would be poetic justice in environmentalist thought, right?)

I can see protecting animal species from catastrophic change caused by over-hunting or pollution --but gradual climate changes? Isn't this just evolution in motion? You know, change over time: adaptation, natural selection, survival of the fittest? It's been known to happen.