Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Blue Butterfly of Climate Change

     While traveling recently I heard a report about a tiny, rare, blue butterfly found in the hills of the southwest United States.  The poor thing is about to go extinct because its habitat was growing smaller and then BOOM! A fire has possibly killed what few butterflies were left. So was this a man-made extinction? Not really. The habitat of this tiny creature has been shrinking for centuries - ever since the last big ice age (not the Little Ice Age of the 1600's) - and the Blue Butterfly has moved up in elevation to escape the rising temperatures. Then man comes along and, in his zeal to preserve the "natural" habitat,  suppresses fires until the Blue Butterfly's food supply is almost gone. You see, the butterflies depended on fires to clear overgrowth so their food supply could flourish. But now, with their numbers so low from lack of food, the fire, instead of helping, may have wiped them out. Oh, and the cause of the fire? Lightning. The interplay between natural climate change, man-made problems, and nature itself is almost impossible for man to understand, let alone balance. I just read a book by Geophysicist Terry W. Donze, "Climate Realism", that exposes how incredibly hard it is to find the true causes of climate change, the amount of change, and the actual contribution of man to that change.