Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

Today is the first official day of Spring.

It finds Verlyn Klinkenborg, the New York Times ‘Rural Life’ columnist, in rhapsodies. He writes:

“What cheers me, though, is the thought that spring isn’t a human season, not like the seasons we create for ourselves.”

Elsewhere, however, writers fear that even if it’s not of our own creation, Spring is being radically altered by humans.

“Spring, which officially starts today, is starting to dissolve as a distinct season as climate change takes hold,” worries the UK Independent.

This isn’t ‘quaint or charming,’ the paper’s Environmental Editor, Michael McCarthy, insists. It’s another sign that climate change is with us; a confirmation, he writes, that “a profound alteration in the environment, the consequences of which are likely to prove catastrophic, is already under way.”

Over at the AP, Seth Borenstein, remarks on similar changes in the USA. Like McCarthy, he notes the renewed importance of that Victorian passion par excellence, phenology — the human recording of the timing of seasonal biological events.

Borenstein is helpfully specific about why these phenological changes are significant.

“The changes could push some species to extinction,” he says. “That’s because certain plants and animals are dependent on each other for food and shelter. If the plants bloom or bear fruit before animals return or surface from hibernation, the critters could starve. Also, plants that bud too early can still be whacked by a late freeze.”

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