You know, I'm always interested in learning more about science, so even though the title had climate change in it, I thought the story was going to be about penguins. I was wrong mostly wrong.
Sure, there was a short blurb about penguins in the beginning, but I guess I don't get the point. Specifically, the article says:
"On the western Antarctic Peninsula, climate change is wreaking havoc on stocks of krill, tiny crustaceans that penguins eat. Adelie penguins are in decline in the region because they have not changed their survival strategy and found something else to eat. Gentoo penguins have; they have been able to turn a threat into a comparative advantage."
Now, I'm not exactly sure what the author means by "comparative advantage." That phrase is unnecessarily vague, and could mean lots of things. For example, it could mean that the one group of penguins isn't doing as badly as the other, but they're both doing badly. But, you know, using a phrase like that certainly sounds like you know what you're talking about. It sounds technical.
So, given that my curiosity about penguins has been piqued, I decided to do a little research into how these species are truly faring in the world of climate change, and here's what I found.
"But it's not all bad news for the Adélies, said Fraser of the Polar Oceans Research Group. As the Antarctic Peninsula heats up, southern parts of Antarctica have become more hospitable homes for the species. Adélie populations in the far southern peninsula have tripled in previous decades, Fraser said."And as for the Gentoo penguins?
"Since 1974 gentoos have increased in number by 7,500 percent and chinstraps by 2,700 percent."So, yeah, it appears the Gentoo penguins are doing better than the Adelies. Unfortunately, the headline for that second article is as misleading as the headline for the article that is the subject of this post: "Adelie Penguins Extinct in a Decade in Some Areas?" The key words are "in some areas." That's kind of like saying humans are extinct in my backyard because no one is out there.
At any rate, eventually this story turned into a rant about how climate change is to blame for nearly every possible bad thing that is expected to happen in the next little while.
"The lesson, however, is not about penguins. It's about us — humans — and how climate change could destabilize nations, spark wars and fuel terrorism — unless we change our strategy."
The author really went out on a limb with that statement. First, every one of those things is already happening. The only really surprising part of that statement is that it actually mentions humans, and almost puts part of the blame for those bad things on them, er, us. Not quite though.
Later on, the author actually gives Congress more credit for intelligence than they deserve:
"Sometimes, members of Congress mimic penguin levels of intelligence when it comes to climate change."Either that's a compliment to Congress, or a slam against penguins. Either way, whether or not human contribution to climate change is the issue that some folks would like us to believe it is, I really wish people would stop with the whole idea that government has to do something about it. To all those people that are whining that government isn't doing enough, I just have a couple of questions. First, what exactly do you think government should do? And second, what exactly are YOU doing? All the government can do is tell us what we have to do and spend our money. I would prefer they did neither.