Today I caught the first installment of a repeat (first aired in the autumn of 2006) of an extremely important series on BBC Radio 4 (11am Tuesdays) called Planet Earth Under Threat. You can’t have a clearer title than that, when it comes to tracking the mass migration of species and habitats going on all over the world. The journalist leading the programme spoke to many experts all over the globe and they are all pointing their finger at climate change.
Fish, insects, birds, mammals and whole ecosystems are on the move as global sea and land temperatures increase. The most comprehensive data sets cover the last 20-30 years and clearly show species and habitats moving up hills and mountains or away from the equator towards the poles. Warmer adapted species are currently winning out because they still have somewhere to go, whereas colder adapted species are losing for the opposite reason. Polar bears for example have nowhere to go. They may be praying for Noah to return with a space shuttle instead … pluto looks inviting.
It was difficult keeping up with the interviewer as she raced about the globe. The evidence is everywhere; Ethiopia has grasses moving up mountains and animals following; pike elsewhere are moving upstream; Sweden doesn’t have cold winters anymore (that’s Sweden!) so the tick population has exploded & the moose are moving north; new species are moving into Sweden from Germany; the Antarctic Peninsula is the fastest warming landmass on the planet & this has begun to effect a warming of the waters off the peninsula and consequently krill that breed off here are on the move with changing currents.
The list goes on. A series worth catching. Here’s the blog connected to the programme. You can listen to the programme from there.