Will the Cranes survive? The augurs, as we head towards the end of 2020, are both encouraging (look at the work the International Crane Foundation has done over half a century!) and discouraging. I made the mistake of reading the forensic article by Seth Borenstein, “Think 2020’s disasters are wild? Experts see worse in future.” Do yourself a favor: read it and be scared, in that proper way that prepares you.
I won’t cannibalise Borenstein’s article’s wonderful quotes but let me paraphrase in a broad fashion. What will the 2020s be like? Well, 2020 is what an improbable disaster movie made in 2000 would have portrayed, and by the end of the 2020s, we’ll look back at 2020 as the good old days. What will the 2030s be like? Much worse than the 2020s.
Cranes, one of Earth’s oldest set of birds, are enormously resilient. I’m only slowly learning how differently Crane species have evolved under varied environmental constraints. But one thing is common: they need wetlands, not all wetlands but a certain subset. Over the 2020s, wetlands will increasingly dry up, even before humanity’s ever-expanding reach actually drains the wetlands. Will the extra rain/flooding predicted add wetlands? I don’t think so. All up, though the ICF hasn’t said this, I portend blow after blow for all fifteen species of Cranes. With eleven of those species at least vulnerable to extinction, my heart, right now, is heavy.