The formerly southern pine beetle kills 50 pine trees in Menotomy Rocks Park.
Climate change impacts everything from temperatures to trees to weather patterns. Many of us understand that this is an all encompassing crisis, but we might not consider how all of the pieces of the issues are related. Pests, like the southern pine beetle, give us insight into these unfortunate connections. As the temperature of the Earth warms, each area will see rises in temperature. This is causing animals to move closer to the poles of the earth. Pests function the same way. The southern pine beetle is originally from parts of Central America, Mexico, and the southern United States. With global warming, this beetle is moving north. As early as 2017, indications of the beetle's march towards Arlington were discovered in Coventry, CT (Connecticut Public Radio).
The Arlington Tree Committee was the first to sound the alarm. Menotomy Rocks Park has many pine trees, making it an area susceptible to southern pine beetles. When southern pine beetles reach an area, they make a hugely negative impact. This is a dangerous pest, so having them in Arlington is destructive. Furthermore, these beetles prefer to attack damaged pine trees. With increased microbursts and other severe weather events, many more pine trees in Arlington are vulnerable. These different aspects of climate change feed into each other and form the desperate circumstances that we are living in today. The benefits of trees add another layer to this issue. Trees help us deal with climate change by taking in carbon dioxide, preventing flooding, and mitigating the urban heat island effect. With the southern pine beetle reducing our number of trees, we lose this critical protection and support.
Taking Action Now
We must take major action now to prevent the southern pine beetle from negatively impacting our community. Global temperature rises can largely be attributed to greenhouse gases. By reducing our emissions, we can work to stop the southern pine beetle and other pests from attacking Arlington. A major way to do this is to hold large corporations accountable. Most carbon emissions come from huge companies, not individuals. Advocating for policy changes and power shifts can be one of the most influential ways to combat this problem. Some large corporations, specifically gas corporations, contribute to climate change in a number of ways. Many gas companies have gas leaks occurring, and they choose not to fix them. These leaks can be incredibly damaging to trees. These corporations are killing trees directly with the gas leaks and indirectly with carbon emissions. Mothers Out Front is an amazing organization taking bold action on this issue. Not only will taking action on large corporations stop the southern pine beetle, but it will also allow us to tackle many aspects of climate change at once. All of these issues are connected.