Today is the day I weed out what I want to write about and what I will just toss. I have always had piles of torn pages from decorator and food magazines but now, because of my awareness gained through Active Rain and the Eco group, I have a GREEN pile and it is the tallest of them all.
At the top of this pile of greenness is an article from one of my AARP magazines and have been hanging onto it for a few weeks now. The photo depicts a tree standing on the side of the road with it's suitcase in one hand and the other with a thumb out. It speaks volumes to me of our grave global warming situation even though it makes me laugh every time I see it.
I often think about our early blooming trees here in the San Joaquin Valley and how fragile fruit and vegetables are. The farmers fear frost every winter and early rainfall in the spring. The weather spells out success or failure every year for them.
This picture epitomizes the fear for the future of our farms and landscapes in general...
I know what you are thinking and I suppose vegetation has been moving around since the beginning of time, but what used to be a gradual migration has accelerated dramatically and never before were there businesses and families/towns/cultures so dependent upon what is produced on their land for survival.
The article points out the concerns of the ranchers wanting to know if there will be grass for grazing...how hard will it be to move those cows? How about nursery owners and botanists who make a living growing flowers for special occasions, what will they do when the land is too hot...use the empty cow pastures? How IS this all going to work out???
What I hadn't considered was how extreme weather conditions give adaptable plants an edge, and some of the most adaptable plants can be trouble. Hundreds of plants are on U.S watch lists because of invasive tendencies. Among them:
- Kudze - Visitors to the 1876 Centennial Exposition if Philadelphia found this Japanese cousin to the pea charming. It's now rampant in the South
- Purple loosestrife - Its blossoms may be hard to resist but loosestrife is reviled in most of the nation, where it invades wetland and crowds out native vegetation.
- Pampas grass - Dramatic plumes make this a real prize in Connecticut, but in southern Californa it spreads vigorously and catches fire easily.
- Spotted water hemlock - It looks like Queen Anne's lace, but this carrot relative spreads rapidly in waterways and exudes a toxic sap. In most of the Southwest it's considered a noxious weed.
Footnote: 28 states could lose an official flower or tree to climate change, according to the National Wildlife Federation.