Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reading Update

I just finished reading After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America last night. I've been taking my time in reading it because after running down to SD, Avrora starting daycare next week, and Lyuda starting classes, we're a little tapped out this month. That means I won't get to go purchase new reading material for a bit.

I have to say that Pielou did a reasonable job of writing this one. The prose is very readable. There are a lot of illustrations to demonstrate points or show the critter being discussed or such. There were a few spots a diagram wasn't placed that could have been nice rather than an illustration of some animal, but the choices weren't horrible. The number of illustrations make the pages seem a bit padded and that youa re really seeing a book of 240 pages long instead of the 314+ of readable material.

The content itself is not anything amazing, but it did point out a number of things that I definitely didn't realize. Frex, the ice free corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets was most likely a waste land that didn't even qualify as tundra making it a very difficult for anyone, man or beast, to travel down without starving. There are a number of other ones that I will be pointing out as quotes. Some of them are quite juicy.

It should be clear that the physical environment of nothern North America has changed dramatically in the past 20,000 years. This environment was (and still is) a complicated and intricate system, powered by the sun and having land, ice, freshwater, salt water and atmosphere at its compnonents. Even if it were lifeless, it would still be duynamic; the compononents would continue to interact with one another. One of the most interesting aspects of this never ending change from the ecological point of view is that, over the time interval we are considering (and probably for the whole of the earth's history), physical conditions on this continent (and everywhere else) have never repeated themselves.

At no time has there been a return to "things as they were."

pg 29.

Emphasis added. Message for the future? There will never be a return to the 'before' if Global Warming truly happens as predicted.

There is a wealth of evidence, however, shwoing that climatic change is never ending. Even if major climatic "steps" are compartively quick, it is almost certain that the climate in the intervals between steps undergoes continual lesser changes. In the light of present knowledge, therefore, Davis' view, that disequilibrium in ecological communities is much commoner than equilibirum, is more acceptable.

It should lead, in time, to a much needed change in popular thought. The notion espoused by so many nonprofessional ecologists - that the living world is "marvelously" and "delicately" attuned to its environment - is not so much a scientifically reasonable theory as a mystically satisifying dogma. Its abandonment might lead to a useful fresh start in environmental politics."

pg 101. Speaks for itself. emphasis added.

I'll add some more quotes later. I'm a little busy right now.

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