In April, Men's Journal published a story about the effect global warming is having on Yellowstone National Park. Paul Solotaroff's piece is a powerful read that examines the damage — much of it functionally irreversible — being done to the flora and fauna of the 2.2 million acre park by warming temperatures.
I'll be honest, it's a grim read. The quick of it is that global warming is killing off, either directly or indirectly, vast swaths of trees, streams full of fish, and a sloth of bears. Global warming bakes some species, like fish, which can't survive living in water that can be 20 degrees warmer than normal, while it helps facilitate the demise of others like lodgepole pine, which are killed by bark boring beetles that used to killed by winter cold snaps that don't come anymore. Bears are starving to death or attacking campers because their food sources are disappearing.
Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, worries that the western U.S. could turn into a "second Outback," largely stripped of plants, animals and people. Las Vegas does not exist without water. Neither does Los Angeles. What city does?
Also on MNN:
- A user's guide to Yellowstone National Park
- Can't make it out West? Find a park near you with our parks guide