Good morning and greetings from the windy west side of Santa Cruz. For Monday’s photo entertainment, we went with a montage of the color red. Today we are going to stay with the single color theme as we’re talking shades of green. We’re talking lime green, Lorne Greene and Al Green. We’re looking at pine cones and flowers on the west side, patterns on the rock at Laguna Creek Beach, extreme low tide at Four Mile Beach and a family of quackers at Neary Lagoon. We’ll be doing more of these color coded days as we’ve got mellow yellow, brilliant blue, outrageous orange and passionate purple waiting to take their cuts at the plate.
So what’s happening on the nature front this week? Well, according to a all-star team of California scientists, the earth may be on the verge of a massive release of methane similar to one that caused a global warming that ended the last “snowball” ice age. Writing in the journal Nature, lead researcher Martin Kennedy of UC Riverside suggested the same kind of warming could be about to occur, not over thousands of years but within a human lifetime In the words of the group Spirit, “It’s natures way of telling you something’s wrong.”
Methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide and 10,000 gigatons of frozen methane are stored zip lock bags in the world’s oceans and permafrost. The current trend of accelerated permafrost melting as the Arctic warms rapidly could release vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere, triggering a sudden climate change. Kennedy worries that rising carbon dioxide levels could drive enough warming to destabilize the Earth’s stored methane reserves. Says Kennedy, “Unzippering the methane reserve could potentially warm the Earth tens of degrees.” Personally, I live by the words of the lovely Carly Simon, “I haven’t gone time for the methane.”
Sunscreen lotions used by swimmers around the world are contributing to a phenomenon known as coral bleaching, (not to be confused with Cloris Leachman,) threatening the coral and the marine life that depend upon it. A study sponsored by the European Commission found that even tiny amounts of cream based UV filters used to protect the skin from the sun’s rays caused bleaching of the coral reefs.
The chemical compounds join climate change, industrial pollution, high UV radiation due to the “ozone hole” and talk radio as the leading threats to coral reefs. According the the report, an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen are released annually in water near coral reefs, with 25 percent of the sunscreen ingredients on skin released into water over the course of a 20 minute swim. And incidentally, this is after staying out of the water for an hour after eating.
Now onto my favorite story of the day. Beavers will soon be living in the lakes, streams and the Joan rivers of Scotland for the first time since before Mary Queen of Scots was executed in 1587. The beaver, Wally, Lumpy and Eddie Haskell were all hunted to extinction across Scotland in the 18th century and the government plans to capture four beaver families in Norway and then release them in the lochs of Argyll’s Wildlife Reserve.
When the animals are released next spring, it will mark the first time that native mammals have been reintroduced in Scotland. Scientists will closely monitor the beavers over the following five years to determine the impact on the local environment, economy and entertainment business before any decision is made on a wider reintroduction. “By bringing these useful creatures back to their natural environment, we will have the chance to restore a missing part our our world of wetland ecosystems and re-establish much needed natural processes,” said Alan Bantick, chairman of the Scottish Beaver Trail Steering Group. As far as the beavers are concerned, I say dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.
That’s it for today’s look and world news and sports. I will leave you with the words of one Mr. Gary Wright. “I’ve just closed my eyes again. Climbed aboard the dream weaver train. Driver take away my worries of today. And leave tomorrow behind.” You know, after writing that, I really believe we can reach the morning light. Enjoy the green and get ready for the Lakers and Celtics to go at it in the NBA Finals. Let’s hope it’s as epic as the nature I saw today that I’ll blog out next week. Defense is desire. Later.