We are all blinded by our beliefs. Only by engaging in more critical analysis and respectful debate within a diverse community, can we free ourselves from our illusions. And only then can we be better stewards of the environment.
(PRWEB) October 04, 2013
For 25 years biologist Jim Steele worked to help save the environment, teaching thousands of students over the years about wildlife conservation while serving as director of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus. So imagine how curious he found it when his efforts to restore wildlife habitat challenged the accuracy of global warming claims. Then imagine his bewilderment when he was demonized for suggesting landscape changes and natural cycles had a far greater impact on wildlife than global climate change.
Citing numerous case studies the author makes personal and compelling arguments that higher local temperatures are more often a reflection of lost vegetation and desiccated landscapes, not a confirmation of global warming. For example tinkering with natural water flow raised regional temperatures from the Everglades to regions surrounding water deprived lakes of Nevada.
Although it is wise to think globally, wildlife is only affected locally. In contrast to alarming reports that rising levels of carbon dioxide had overheated our landscapes and pushed wildlife to the brink of extinction, in the Sierra Nevada maximum temperatures are now lower than they were in the 1930s. The focus on higher "average temperatures" is misleading because higher minimum temperatures are much more sensitive to landscape changes and urbanization. Surprisingly the US Historical Network reveals lower maximum temperatures are found throughout much of the United States
Steele summarizes a plethora of scientific research that contradicts the iconic claims that global warming is killing wildlife. He demonstrates southern California’s urban sprawl decimated endangered butterflies, an introduced disease extinguished the Golden Toad, and although over-grazing in Nevada removed sustaining vegetation for a few highly-publicized pika colonies and pushed them higher, elsewhere pika are abundant and thriving at lower elevations.
By contrasting good and bad science research, Steele provides eyebrow-raising evidence to support the Inuit who claim "it is the time of the most polar bears" and readily refutes all claims that the colony featured in the highly-popular and award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins will be melted out of house and home by climate change." Antarctica’s penguins are now at all time highs. We should be more concerned about other penguin species that have been endangered by introduced rats and cats.
Steele’s tale of a true environmentalists’ education adds an important chapter in the evolving story of the debate on climate change. He revives the rallying call of his generation to "question authority" and demands more critical thinking. He joins a growing chorus in the scientific community urging vigilance against sloppy research and implores his readers to put aside their own prevailing bias. "We are all blinded by our beliefs. Only by engaging in more critical analysis and respectful debate within a diverse community, can we free ourselves from our illusions. And only then can we be better stewards of the environment."
Order: Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism at Amazon.com.