climate change, with all its consequences, to this pressure simply multi-
plies the danger.
All these factors make it clear that the transformations to ecosystems
will take place right in our own neighborhoods. If you need an image to
capture the relevance of climate change for you and yours, take a look
at the natural life that surrounds you wherever you live and imagine it
damaged or disappearing. Then remember for a moment that if climate
change decimates an ecosystem, it won't come back—at least not in the
form we know, and not for millennia. It will be gone for good.
Very well , someone might reply, that may be true for most regions, but
some areas will no doubt benefit from climate change: their growing seasons
will expand, more life will flourish there, and the winters will be more temper-
ate. Isn't climate change good news for some people?
It's true that climate change models have suggested that some areas
may experience warming that will improve the growing season, for exam-
ple, or reduce the discomforts of winter. But it's naive to imagine that
these changes are truly beneficial. As we've already seen, the warming
climate has devastated the boreal forest of British Columbia; the loss of
those cold winter nights, and of the shorter growing season, has not been
a benefit there. Any so-called benefit to other regions is likely to have
Nevertheless, it's worth taking this objection seriously and thinking
it through with another thought experiment. If we imagine that some
region would actually benefit, then what might follow? For one thing, can
we suppose that the people who live in the lucky region rely exclusively
for their well-being on what happens there? Or do they live in houses
built of imported materials, drive cars manufactured in other regions,
eat food grown elsewhere? Conversely, do they sell their own wares to
people who live elsewhere? What supports the economy of their region?
If ecosystems in other regions are suffering, so also will the economic
base in those regions, and the trading relationships will suffer as well. No
region can imagine that it would survive easily on its own.
But for a moment, let's take this experiment to a second level and
imagine that it could thrive all by itself. Perhaps people in a particular
region would be very good at creating a self-sustaining economy. Very
well. But if residents of other regions are suffering, doesn't it seem likely