Season Creep & Other Weird News Shaping Environmental Politics This Year

Early cherry blossoms.

Fruit orchard owners in Maryland report trees blossoming a month ahead of time. A report in the Baltimore Sun offers this quote which summarizes the reaction of scientists and everyone else: " "It does seem like springs are getting weirder and wilder around the nation," said Jake Weltzin, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and director of the National Phenology Network, which is tracking the influence of climate on plants, animals and landscapes."

Here in Pennsylvania, where I live, we've had two weeks of temperatures ranging from the low 60's to mid 80's (Farenheit). Tonight, with the jet stream bucking from an energized Arctic Oscillation, temperatures will drop below freezing and those fruit tree blossoms and the bees who are running out of honey early will die. It's that Republican Weather thing.

It's not just here in the Mid-Atlantic that shocking season creep is felt. In East Central Wisconsin, the sturgeon spearing season came to an abrupt, early end as dozens of ice fisher's cars fell through rotten February, fer God sake. Farther north, still, as The Florence Mining News reported:
..., the area’s maple syrup production has tanked because of the weather. “It’s done. It’s going to be one of the worst years on records as I’m understanding it,” Reuss said. A few operations were marginally successful, but most had a “pretty poor year,” he said.
The record warmth, however, could spell danger for a number of woodland creatures, especially birds, which are nesting earlier than usual.

“It’s a distinct advantage for birds to nest as early as conditions permit so they can get their chicks growing and fledged as soon as possible,” Holtz said. “The question is, what’s going to happen all of a sudden if we get winter in April as often happens?”

This story is echoed back in Vermont, where the Burlington Free Press reports:
In many sugarhouses, however, one thing will be missing: steam rising from evaporators. In at least the lower elevations of the state, exceptionally warm weather brought an abrupt end to sap flow this week, several sugarmakers said.

Out West, though, things are considerably wilder.
Tea Party sensibilities have re-enlivened the Sage Brush rebellion - a Zombie of the Reagan years, grown bigger and badder with Super Pac money filling its veins.

Republican operatives, not satisfied with the good publicity from their party's War on Women, are amplifying decades-old demands that the Federal government hand over billions of acres of Federal land to State and local officials. So they can bulldoze ATV trails to their hearts content and cut all 'excess timber.' I doubt that the hook and bullet crowd will be pleased; but who cares?

' Freedom will bring back them jobs,' right? (Unless Chinese proxy investors buy the mineral and timber rights.)

Arizona Republic has the story:

Arizona could claim as much as 25 million acres -- all federal land in the state except military bases, Indian reservations, national parks and some wilderness areas. If the federal government fails to comply by the end of 2014, the states say they will begin sending property-tax bills to Washington, D.C.

While the original sagebrush rebellion grew out of conflicts over management of federal lands, often as specific as keeping a forest road open, the new takeover movement owes more to "tea party" politics, with a strong focus on reducing the scope of federal influence and opening land to more users.

This stink is going to get worse before it gets better.
People are going to react in all kinds of crazy, unpredictable ways. How long before some think tanker proposes blaming environmentalists for unseasonably hot dry conditions underlying this week's wild fires in the Denver Colorado area? Psychological projection is a favorite tactic because it works so well.

Who knows how those who see season creep around them - feel its impact on nature and their pocket books - will vote? Comes down to what has more impact: nature vs TV and radio.

Even the rich - the 1%'ers - are going to suffer the consequences. They won't like it when their 10,000 square-foot log home MegaMansions, perched on glorious promontories, are surrounded by pillaged vistas, clouded by coal plant haze. Wealth does not give you a pass from the effects of climate change: say, for example, spring vacation in the Rockies ruined by wild fires.

The tragedy is so immense, you just have to find some solace in laughter. There isn't any in the news.

If you are wondering what forces would be pleased to fill Sagebrush Zombie's veins in preparation for the fall of 2012 election, check out this story from the Great Falls [MT] Tribune.

BILLINGS — A proposed cleanup of Montana air pollution would force three industrial plants to spend $90 million on measures to improve visibility in some of the nation's prized public lands, including Yellowstone and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks.

The Environmental Protection Agency plan would clear the air in the Big Sky State of about 15,000 tons annually of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Those pollutants react with the atmosphere to create haze.
In the Western United States, haze is blamed for reducing visibility by half versus natural conditions, a maximum of 60 to 90 miles. In most of the United States the phenomenon is even more acute, with visibility reduced to just 15 to 30 miles.

The election is going to be a nexus for these and other environmental stories, woven together and at times spun to look like a free market can solve the jobs problem if only we forget about clean air and conservation of natural resources.

Deseret News provides another good example of what feeds Sagebrush Zombie:

ALT LAKE CITY — Saying it's a fight worth having, Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill Friday demanding the federal government relinquish its public lands in Utah.

Republican members of Utah's congressional delegation joined Herbert in the bill signing. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, last week pledged to run legislation on the federal level patterned after the Utah law.

Hatch said federal management has thwarted the state's effort to develop the land.

"We're tired of it," he said.

States such as North Dakota and Texas that have recently discovered oil on private property don't have go to the federal government "hat in hand" for permission to drill, he said.

Season Creep & Other Weird News Shaping Environmental Politics This Year
The tragedy is so immense, you just have to find some solace in irony.