Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Bark Beetles, Dying Forests and a Warming World

Have you ever driven near, or been in, some forested areas of the United States and wondered why you see so many dead and dying pine trees? Places where you see a green forest filled with patches of brown trees?

In November of 2008 the New York Times published an article titled "Bark Beetles Kill Millions of Acres of Trees in West". The article contains this statement -

"Foresters say the historic outbreak has several causes. Because fires have been suppressed for so long, all forests are roughly the same age, and the trees are big enough to be susceptible to beetles. A decade of drought has weakened the trees. And hard winters have softened, which allows the beetles to flourish and expand their range."

Ten years after that article was published, Diana Six a Professor of Forest Entomology and Pathology at the University of Montana made the short documentary "Life of Pine". In this video she talks about the devastation to forests due to the spread of mountain pine beetles and how that spread is related to a warming planet where droughts are more common and winter temperatures relatively mild.


Our nation deserves leaders who are capable, honest and courageous. Leaders who encourage citizens to be brave and to be bold in addressing our common problems. People who know that the first step to solving a problem is to admit there is a problem.

We've had that type of leader before.

F.D.R. said in his 1932 inaugural address -
"I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
Thirty years later J.F.K. said in a commencement address to students at American University -
"Let us not be blind to our differences--but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."