Wednesday, 9 November 2022

WW: Climate disruption on the North Pacific

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

Western red cedar (Thuja plicata)

(A particularly disturbing consequence of global climate disruption is the rapid perishing of species unique to the North Coast.

Because we have until recently had a specifically regional climate, a great many types of plants and animals have evolved to live only here. [Or here and and similar places they've invaded, such as the UK and the South Island of New Zealand.] These species have become emblematic of this place and the human cultures that developed here.

Like the disappearance of our starfish and the dying crowns of our bigleaf maples, watching these symbols of my homeland suffer and die in the arid blast-furnace heat of the new "normal" is heartrending. Other key examples are the salal and Western red cedar pictured here.

I saw several abnormally hot, dry summers in my youth, but the salal and cedars never died.)

Appearing also on My Corner of the World.


  1. Oh, dear, I have an incense cedar that has been looking poorly for a couple of years. I hope this isn't the reason. It's huge and there is no way I could afford to have it taken down without adding to a loan.

  2. Most cedars are arid-country plants. Chances are yours is one of them. If so, it's probably not as threatened by the hotter, drier conditions. (Not yet, anyway.)

    The North Coast climate till very recently was mild; if a summer day ever hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it was news for a week. Our native red cedars are unique to that rainy, overcast habitat, not found anywhere else. And now they're being asked to survive 100+-degree days for weeks and months at a time, without any rainfall at all. They aren't doing it well.