Thursday, October 15, 2009
Blog Action Day..........
To participate in Blog Action Day, all I had to do was register, write what you are reading and tell you to check out http://www.blogactionday.org/. This year's topic is climate change, and the task was to relate the subject to the theme of my blog. Since my blog is all about being outside, and climate change refers to it getting warmer........outside, I was sure that this wasn't going to give me too much trouble.
So here it goes..........
As honesty is a big component of my repertoire, I must admit that, for selfish reasons, I have pondered if global warming would benefit New Jersey. As an angler, it has occurred to me that warmer temperatures would increase the metabolism of fish, making them grow larger and stay more active through the course of the year. Also, prize game fish that prefer a warmer bath would start making their way into our coastal waters, eliminating the need for me to buy a plane ticket to Miami to catch them.
With that out of the way, I do not think that it is God's intention for me to catch a tarpon in Raritan Bay, nor am I willing to justify other ramifications of global warming with a healthy population of "double-digit" bass swimming in Lake Hopatcong.
The fact is that New Jersey has unique ecosystems that could be vanquished by a warmer climate. A rise in sea level would immediately threaten our coastal wetlands and estuaries, displacing marine invertebrates and destroying essential nesting and foraging grounds for waterfowl and wading birds. It has also been predicted that our magnificent hardwood forests in the northern part of the state, the landscape that I cherish most, would be taken over by southern pines and oaks.
If you take the time to venture out in to the wilderness of New Jersey, you will encounter beauty as only God can create. From our vast pine barrens, along our 1,792 miles of shoreline, over the Palisades, across the Wyanokies and on to the rock fortress that makes up our side of the Water Gap, we have been truly blessed with a diversity and splendor of nature that is truly right at our fingertips. I've stood on the farm ponds and looked across the rolling hills of Hunterdon County. I've floated down a coffee-colored river through the fabled Pine Barrens. I've walked for 6 hours along the Van Campens Brook without seeing another soul besides the one that was with me. I have marveled at the beauty of the Ramapo Mountains from atop its many overlooks. I have seen an osprey crash into the water to take a trout from Lake Hopatcong. I have scoured the beaches on the Jersey Shore for shells, sea glass and starfish. I have tasted the water from beneath the earth of Stokes State forest and have pulled fish from the pristine water of the Big Flatbrook.
We don't know exactly what will happen to these images if global warming continues unabated. We do know that our tidal wetlands are at great risk from a rise in sea level and that our forests would almost surely be different. Some of the fondest memories of my childhood are being knee-deep in Barnegat Bay and my favorite place now is among the rhododendron and mountain laurel of Worthington State Forest. It's a blessing to still be able to enjoy the Long Beach Island I loved as a child and my favorite forest is only an hour away. These are two places that might not exist as they do now if the climate were to change, and it is our responsibility to pass them along to the next generation as we have found them, so that they can love them too.