Get Ready for Noisy Summer Nights — Compliments of 'Mother Nature'
By William D. Balgord
If it isn’t some new virus, or swarms of killer hornets newly arrived from Southeast Asia, it has to be another dread event to grab the attention of the mainstream media.
National Public Radio recently reported on the soon-to-be re-arriving, and vociferous, 17-year cicadas, last seen and heard from in 2003. Sincere thanks to the NPR photo department for providing readers with a candid view of a live sample of the nocturnal insect that is more commonly seen in the form of an empty husk, following molting, left behind on the bark of a tree trunk.
It is not yet clear how many of us will be treated to the penetrating crescendos and de-crescendos as dusk falls on the summer evenings in 2020.
But of one thing we can be sure, some naysayers will treat the 17-year event as no better than a plague of locusts — and very unfairly, I might add.
The cicadas, to the best of my knowledge, do not inflict devastation on our crops and gardens as the true locusts (grasshoppers) are inclined to do, but they will chirp away far into the night, inspiring insomnia for some, but providing a soothing background of white noise for all those kind souls willing to let Mother Nature be herself amid the occasional haunting call of the whippoorwill.
I was a bit put off by the obligatory comment by the writer and NPR editors for allowing the following to remain in an otherwise informative article: “Their timing isn’t always exact. Some periodical cicadas have been seen years early; climate change may be a cause" (emphasis added).
What’s wrong with that? The media likes to see itself in the role of principal advocate for the popular cause. Reporters and editors cannot seem to help themselves whenever a juicy opportunity presents. They will reflexively put in a plug for the popular meme they know will frighten children and credulous adults.
But climate change is more properly understood as a natural succession of warming and cooling periods that have gone on since the beginning of time on our home planet — in cycles of years, decades, centuries, and longer.
So you can take your pick. Either it is Al Gore and his loyal minions who are to hold, or retake, sway over the hearts and minds of the voting public, or Mother Nature, which has a long-standing edge on the former vice president and now self-appointed headmaster in residence at the School of Catastrophic Climate Change.
William D. Balgord, Ph.D., is President of Environmental & Resources Technology, Inc., Middleton, WI, and a Contributing Writer with The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.