We’ve poured huge amounts of energy into the atmosphere and, well, the atmosphere is energized. It’s time to learn how to dance with this increasingly energetic partner. Dancing is a good metaphor for the kind of response demanded by climate change. Dancing implies controlled relaxation, improvisation, and the ability to recognize and generate patterns in a swirling changing field. And it’s fun, creative, and good mental and physical exercise.
Because climate change is happening rapidly, we need to begin experimenting and adapting now—not waiting for someone to figure it out and tell us what to do. Here’s an example. Two decades ago, Tim Murphy told me one of his ideas for addressing climate change: plant oak trees. Here in the western interior of the U.S., the larger and more productive species of oaks are found in the temperate south. As one moves northward and to higher elevations, the dominant species are scrub oaks. But if the climate warms up, southern oaks should be able to grow further and further north. How will we know? By trying it. (more…)