Have you noticed that, of late, whenever something anomalous occurs, it’s blamed on climate change? This has slowly been seeping into my subconscious, and suddenly burst to the forefront of my mind when I saw today’s SF Chronicle, with a story about shorebird die-offs. Not to speak disrespectfully of these dying birds, but the fact is that, during my lifetime of reading the Chronicle, I distinctly remember several die-offs stories. Birds seem to be vulnerable to things and to die easily (a “fact” I remember from the biologically classes I reluctantly took in high school and college.) This time, however, it comes as no surprise to me that the current die-off cycle is tentatively assigned to climate change.
Now it could, of course, be entirely true that this current die-off is occuring precisely because there is climate change. The fact remains, though, that when all events get attributed to a single cause, you start to doubt how thoughtful the scientists and analysts are, and start wondering if they’re not becoming a bit monomanical. In a way, climate change attribution is the 21st Century equivalent of the old “It’s God’s will” line that was, in a pre-scientific era, deemed an appropriate response to all unexplained or disturbing events.