Planet panic

Another new category… great. It’s a reflection of my growing level of concern about environmental collapse–and our willed ignorance about it. I’ve never been a very good Sierra Club style environmentalist. But things like this–and Bush’s idiotic hem-hawing in the face of stunning scientific evidence of global warming–have me seriously worried. And seriously pissed off.

Anyway, courtesy of the NRDC: Natural Resources Defense Council, more bad news.

Scientists suspect that rising ocean temperatures and dwindling plankton populations are behind a growing number of seabird deaths, reports of fewer salmon and other anomalies along the West Coast.

Coastal ocean temperatures are 2 to 5 degrees above normal, apparently caused by a lack of upwelling – a process that brings cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface and jump-starts the marine food chain.

Upwelling fuels algae and shrimplike krill populations that feed small fish, which provide an important food source for a variety of sea life, from salmon to sea birds and marine mammals.

“Something big is going on out there,” said Julia Parrish, an associate professor in the School of Aquatic Fisheries and Sciences at the University of Washington. “I’m left with no obvious smoking gun, but birds are a good signal because they feed high up on the food chain.”

We may be “at the top of the food chain,” but if the bottom falls out it won’t be pretty. Payback, as they say, is a bitch.