The UNM Biodiversity Webinar Series—Fall 2020 with U.S. Senator Tom Udall serving as honorary co-host launched on September 14 just as the Summer was giving away to Fall that arrived with fury. As was anticipated by public health experts, coronavirus infections as well as death rates are on the rise again across Europe, and restrictions are being reimposed. In the United States, the cruel COVID-19-saga being scripted, produced and performed by the President is frustrating the public and the public health experts.
Alongside the intensifying public health crisis, manifestation of climate breakdown is also intensifying. The wildfires burning across California recently established a new designation: gigafire. “On Monday, the August complex fire in northern California expanded beyond 1m acres, elevating it from a mere 'megafire' to a new classification, 'gigafire', never used before in a contemporary setting in the state,” the Guardian reported yesterday.
And, in my home state of New Mexico, leaves are not the only thing falling from the sky this autumn—but also birds are falling dead on the ground (see reporting in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, and the BBC) which led to the establishment of the Southwest Avian Mortality Project, a citizen science initiative to create an eye-witness archive of fallen birds.