Friday, June 6, 2008

Another Reason Not to Pave Over the Mojave Desert...

My former colleague Stephanie Buhler has the scoop on important new research that indicates that the desert, far from being the wasteland that some public officials would like to make the entire state, is in fact very important to controlling carbon levels in the atmosphere. You know, the same levels that spell doom if we don't start taking this stuff seriously.

Anyhoo, turns out that the desert aborbs more carbon than parking lots, slot machines and tract housing. This will no doubt cause the Southern Nevada Homebuilders Association d/b/a Southern Nevada Water Authority to radically rethink the commitment to destroying all of the Great Basin and Mojave Desert's natural places.

Here's the killer cut:

Currently, desert ecosystems are largely treated like vast wastelands with no need for protection. They are commonly used for storage of toxic substances, weapons testing and live-fire war games, off-road vehicle recreation, mining, dumps for household waste and, in Southern Nevada, urban and suburban development.
Small groups of environmentalists in the Southwest have for years called on regulators to limit urban expansion into the desert and the disturbance of desert ecosystems to protect endangered animals that inhabit them.
Proof that deserts also significantly offset greenhouse gases could widen support for desert conservation measures and lead to tougher protection for desert lands, Fenstermaker said.

My only quibble: We're not that small. I feel like a hobbit.

1 comment:

Daniel R. Patterson said...

Launce -- Great to see your blog. Best, Daniel