Our demise

Most excellent, you see.

Back when I was growing up, my parent’s house had a back fence lining the perimeter that was covered with ivy. Ivy grows thick and dense. It appears leafy and verdant from a distance, but it is nothing but gnarled and tough thickets wrapped and intermingled in a mass of coiled branches providing dark, cool shelter from the outside world. It’s like soil. I knew this because one of my chores as a youngster was to trim the ivy which basically involved cutting the leaves clear and leaving nothing but a mass of brown tendrils which were the innards of the ivy. Like peeling its skin.

Naturally, the ivy played home and host to a multitude of wildlife. Insects, lizards and frogs. Frogs, so many of them back then. I used to go to the ivy fence during the warm summer days and easily nab a frog or three.

I don’t remember when, but in the ensuing decade, the frogs simply ceased to be.
Gone.
So suddenly, and also, considering the fact I was older and no longer possessed the boyhood fascination with shiny amphibians, I barely noticed they were gone.

It was not until years later, reading stories, commonplace now, speaking of the mysterious global frog “die off.” Frog populations have dwindled precipitously and there are as many theories as there are scientific schools of thought purporting to diagram Earth’s death rattle.

I will honestly state that I don’t know why the global frog population is reatreating toward the realm of extinction. I can estimate, I can guess. But I don’t know.

I was reminded of the strange disappearing frog phenomena while reading this yesterday. This post asserts another theory…that global warming is to blame for the disappearance of frogs. Specifically, that global warming has fueled the voraciousness of a commonly occurring fungus, chytridiomycosis, which has spread globally and unkindly decimated the global frog community. Keep in mind this is but one of many conjectural schools of thought postulating the origins of the frog’s demise. Inherent to the theory, however, is the pernicious effects of global warming. In all fairness, the post makes it clear that the cause of the frog’s descent into extinction is attributable to “many factors,” but points out chytridiomycosis represents one of the most grave causes.

Actually, I don’t dispute the seriousness of global warming.

However, global warming has become a strange and intractable focal point over which liberals and conservatives focus all their attention on and it has become the fulcrum by which society spells out whether or not mankind is killing his own world. I find it impossible to believe that mankind’s civilization and encroaching technology doesn’t have an effect on the global climactic health. Considering the tons and volumes of emissions that we eject into the atmosphere on a daily global basis, how can anyone argue that our biosphere is able to ward off these unprecedented levels of toxicity and human abuse by virtue of its size?

And the big “however.”

However.

The pathogen which causes chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, “Bd,” has been demonstrated unable to survive in environments where the temperature rises above 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, its scarcity in tropical environments but preponderance in higher Colorado-like altitudes. Thus the confluence of “global warming.” This is an eminently valid point and I am not seeking to disqualify it. I can’t, and refuse to, minimize the wrath of global warming.

But I point to one passage from a scientific journal linked in the post:

Amphibian populations are declining across the globe at an alarming rate, with over 43% of species in a state of decline. In addition to long-recognized threats such as habitat loss, overexploitation, and exotic species introductions, amphibians in all biogeographic regions face several new threats, including climate change, emerging infectious diseases, and chemical contaminants.

The bold highlight is naturally mine :)

Chemical contaminants.
This is the greatest scourge mankind has ever known.
It is the most insidious killer of life.
It is the most pervasive and deadly form of artificial civilization. Yet it only ranks #3 behind infectious diseases and climate change. Climate change has become the left-wing cause celebre hoisting the doomsday machine of modern society into the public spotlight.

Chemical contaminants, why does no one pay attention to this. These?

Amphibians, physiologically, are environmentally very susceptible to deviations; and its tendency to express “unnatural” traits. Global warming certainly qualifies as an encroachment on the natural order which affects the hardiness of frogs. However, the climate in Los Angeles has not changed dramatically in the past 2 or 3 decades. I can attest to this. We still have balmy, mild weather year-round. It’s frequently over 82 degrees, and below occasionally, just as it was back in the days when frogs swarmed our backyard ivy.

By the way, lest I rely too much on my ivy lab environment, I also remember visiting local parks with my friends and scooping tadpoles out of local ponds. Where did the tadpoles go?

The worship of mother Earth has usurped all discussions regarding our species-wide self-immolation. Mother Earth has blinded many to the true catastrophe befalling the Mankind. This is our true desiccation.

Forget Mother Earth and the ravaging of her pastures.
Consider another horror.
We are polluting her innards, her briny branches, those which lurk beneath the leaves, and poisoning her from inside out. We are injecting chemicals of every sort into everything we eat, breathe, drink, touch; our dermis is stretched to the limits with all that it must expel. Frogs, such fragile creatures, expel less vehemently. They are struck down by our chemicals quicker than us.

But we are struck down.
Witness every sort of disease and syndrome that afflicts us as a race. I guarantee you: the result of chemicals. Frogs killed off by environmental toxins in the matter of a generation or two. We are facing the same fate, but we are slightly more hardy. The process will take several generations. We are killing ourselves with poison in a span of time that is but the blink of an eye in comparison to the span of time it will take global warming to kill us. Toxins in our food, our medicine, our water, our air, kill us now; global warming will kill us in the thousands of years it takes the sea levels to rise beyond heights imaginably safe to the welfare of mankind. The toxic environment greets us now.

Why the fascination with global warming but the reluctance to hoist the most vicious of all curses upon the altar of true death?

Global warming presents a macro sort of death, of grandiose scale of doom.
Sharing of fate, so to speak.
Chemical contamination is limited to your own private sphere of death. Chemicals contaminate you, they kill you. They strike you down in your day to day present life. Chemical contaminants are less romantic and more sturdily utilitarian. We want something more glamorous. We want our world to die with us. Hollywood style.