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Home > Natural Resources > Disaster Resources

Species Migration Disrupted by Warmer Weather Patterns

Climate change affects migration patterns of insects, wildlife and even invasive plants -- and they can increase the spread of unexpected diseases.

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Biomimicry research on termites to produce biofuels from wood History teaches -- if we will look at trends and their cause and effect. Hot weather, more rain and severe weather patterns bring with them changes in wildlife migrations. Not just pretty birds, but insects and giant squid and termites and armadillos...to mention just a few that bring disruptive impacts with them.

Climate change disrupts wildlife territories and as insects and other critters look for food, the wander farther, fly farther, and are carried by winds. Wildlife know no country borders and the immigrate freely and sometimes, very rapidly.

The US is already seeing some wildlife migration changes -- such as giant squid in central California that are eating the small fish normally in a food chain of local native fish, dolphins and whales.

We are very aware of killer bees and mosquitos and fire ants that have migrated further north as warmth and invasive tenacity fuels their march.

The solution feels disconnected. But when we reduce electricity use, petroleum use, paper use, housing materials use -- and the myriad other products that support deforestation and emissions, we are also containing these wild migrations. Warmth and weather change are both local and global problems with a common solution -- discipline our consumption and live more lightly on the land.

Lessons from America's Tropical Epidemic

"Some scientists warn that global warming could lead to a spread of disease, as the range of where mosquitoes, ticks, mice and other carriers of disease can live expands. In the United States, people are protected by good sanitation, medicine and wealth. But it's worth remembering that Americans were once terrorized by diseases associated with hot weather.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, yellow fever killed more than 100,000 Americans. The sweltering port cities of Philadelphia, New York and New Orleans all experienced major outbreaks. But the worst swept through Memphis, Tenn., like a biblical plague. In 1878, people in Memphis began reporting strange weather. It was hot that year, and it got hot early."

Joseph Shapiro reports for NPR's Morning Edition as part of its Climate Connections series Feb. 26, 2008.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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