Monday, May 23, 2022

The mountains are calling …

owls head mountain

“Mountains are our crystal ball,” John All, scientist and mountaineer writes in Icefall. “Understand them, and you get a glimpse of the planet’s future.”

All almost lost his life during an expedition to understand climate change in the world’s most remote places, the subject of his book, a source for my current research into the high peaks of the Adirondacks. He risks everything to tell stories of resilience and human adaptation.

These qualities of courage and perseverance are alive and well in those who steward the High Peaks Wilderness, subjects of my upcoming feature which will explore the history of protection for alpine ecosystems. Rare plant species persist after nearly becoming extinct because of foresight and dedication on behalf of organizations like the Adirondack Mountain Club. What lessons have we learned from past successes in protecting threatened species in unique ecosystems and how might we apply them to new climate challenges? This is what I’ll be looking to understand in the coming month.

Also on my mind:

New York’s Climate Action Plan is out and open for comment. In a story that ran recently, I wrote about the famed climate scientist James E. Hansen’s criticism of the state’s choice to not invest in nuclear technologies for their carbon-free electricity goals. As always, these issues are complicated, nuanced and deserve dialogue. I plan to write ongoing analyses unpacking the science and practical implications to land, resources and biodiversity behind decisions made in the name of climate goals, especially those affecting the Adirondacks. Please comment on articles or send me a note with your questions, concerns or reactions. Ideas get better through dialogue and I invite all the readers to engage with me and one another, respectfully.


What I’m paying attention to in climate news: 

  • The Tick Project researched best methods for treating back yards as tick-borne diseases continue their spread.
  • Hurricane season is a month away and NOAA has a campaign to educate the public on preparedness. By 2050, the frequency and intensity of hurricanes is expected to double in just about every region in the world according to new research.
  • New York climate law seeks to implement economic support for “disenfranchised” communities. An article in The City looks at how the city made their choices of where needed help and what resources the programs plan to make available.
  • Charles Koch, my number one nominee for the anti-Nobel peace prize, has been hard at work for decades funding efforts to gut the Environmental Protection Act’s ability to regulate air pollution. The supreme court will rule in June on a monumental case that could cuff the ability of the EPA to stop egregious polluters.
  • The Explorer’s policy reporter Gwen Craig wrote a Q&A with Brian Mann, an Adirondacks based reporter covering the war in Ukraine. He reflects daily on the beauty of the Adirondack mountains to give him solace.

Photo at top: Almanack file photo from Owl’s Head Mountain in Long Lake.

Above: Prothonotary Warbler, a rare sighting, spotted in Central Park, New York during spring migration. Photo by Alexander More. You can see how climate change may shift their range, and other species’ ranges here with Audubon’s mapping tool.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Cayte’s weekly “Climate Matters” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Cayte Bosler is an investigative journalist covering the intersections of climate change, wildlife and community resilience in the Adirondack wilderness. Throughout her career, she has researched ecology and wildlife biology in protected areas in the Bolivian Amazon and in Cuba, trekked to an extreme altitude ecosystem in the Peruvian Andes, and boated through the mangrove-filled estuaries of Guatemala — all to chronicle solutions for conserving the natural world. She holds a master of science from Columbia University’s sustainability program and is a fellow of the Explorer’s Club.

One Response

  1. Worth Gretter says:

    Similar to the Tick Project linked above, people have been attacking the tick problem by filling toilet paper tubes with permethrin-soaked cotton balls, and leaving them in their yard for mice to find. The mice use the cotton in their nests, which greatly reduces ticks on the mice. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease acquired by people in the area. More details are at .

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