Al Gore said this earlier today at in the World Economic Forum in Davos: “All future generations will at some point look back and make an assessment of whether we succeeded or failed.” He (with Bono) was talking about global warming and poverty. But within the big topic of climate change are many subplots; what global warming is doing to the animal kingdom is one of them.
Warmer temperatures are weakening the animal kingdom, not just for polar bears, but for amphibians who are withering amid a toxic fungus that may be spreading into more and more habitat, fueled by the heat. The fungus is called chytrid. This is what Kathy Krynak, who manages the amphibian exhibit at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, recently said about the connection between chytrid and global warming:
“Amphibians that live in mountain regions and particularly the humid tropics are having a really hard time because as you increase the elevation, climate change is much more dramatic there. The nighttime temperatures in the areas where chytrid thrives are getting warmer so it’s 24 hours a day of a chytrid hotbed in the humid tropics.”
One-third to one-half of amphibian species could go extinct in our lifetime. There are some 6,000 species of amphibians, so you do the math. If the mass extinction isn’t stopped, it will be the most significant since the disappearance of the dinosaurs.
We have the knowledge to stop it. There’s a common sense plan called Amphibian Ark to avert it. But to paraphrase something that Al Gore said on Jan. 24, 2008, will future generations look back and say we succeeded or failed in saving the amphibian?