That pictured above is, or I should say, was, a saguaro. Everywhere I look, the saguaros are dying. A healthy saguaro is supposed to look like this:
An unhealthy saguaro looks like this:
Both photos were taken around Phoenix, Arizona. The healthy cactus image was captured in 2016. The unhealthy one was pictured last year. Everywhere I go, most saguaros look like the second one. Or they look even worse:
This was my favorite saguaro. It was the first one that I really got to know. I would see it on the trail to my “thinking spot.” It’s currently rotting and releasing a disgusting black juice that makes a slurping sound as it drips onto the rocks. It also smells putrid. The saguaro doesn’t want to admit that it is dying. It used its last bit of energy to produce a plethora of flowers. It bloomed in places that it’s never bloomed before. It’s a phenomenon that’s happening to most saguaros. There have been articles written about it, but no one has an answer as to why the cactus are blooming “wrong.” https://www.salon.com/2021/05/28/arizonas-iconic-saguaro-cactus-is-flowering-wrong-and-no-one-knows-why/
Simply put, Arizona has gotten too hot for cactus to survive.
Climate change has outpaced their natural survival tactics. The saguaro cannot deal with the increasing heat. They need cool nighttime temperatures and occasional rain. Lately, they have been getting neither. Invasive grasses have caused the desert to catch on fire. Every year, more and more parts of Arizona burn. The desert is dying.
Climate change is here. The desert is begging the world to recognize that fact. There is no running inside and locking the door and pretending that it’s not happening, because climate change has reached the doorstep.
How many saguaros have to fall, how many acres have to burn before the world pays attention? Cactus are dying. Cactus. Those things that have learned how to survive anything are not surviving this. If cactus can’t make it to the future, what makes humans think they can?
I want to help the desert heal, but I’m filled with existential dread. I feel that I have in some way contributed to all of this and I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to fix any of it. The world needs solutions, and we need them fast.
We needed to fix climate change yesterday, and we are already living in tomorrow. It’s almost as though today is not even here. We are all living on borrowed time.
thanx for reading.