What would happen if the Sonoran desert changed? Well, isn't it always changing?
Our home, the Sonoran desert, is a vast array of diverse plants, minerals, vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, and seen and unseen microorganisms. We're a part of all that after all. We have been changing - our habits, lifestyles, disease tendencies, population, etc. - and our environment has been changing, too. Is there any evidence that exists showing that at some point in time on this planet, the environment was not changing, was static? Is change - rapid or otherwise - simply an inherent aspect of life on earth, or life, in general? Or is it an exceptional factor of life on this planet at this moment in time?
Measuring changes in our biosphere with modern scientific methods has not been going on for very long in the great scheme of things. A recent article reveals that some of the oldest continuously studied plots of earth are right here in our Sonoran desert, right in our Santa Cruz watershed, in fact. The numbers tell us that change is apparent, it's been happening and seems to be growing in new directions. Our cacti are proliferating at greater rates than the surrounding vegetation, mesquite trees are becoming more dominant, grasses are disappearing, etc. Many people who have regularly visited the desert surrounding their homes would have observed this with the naked eye over the previous decades. "The desert is a complex place," the article states. Indeed it is. Intricately so, with perhaps immeasurable variables at play.
So what makes us begin to think we've figured it out? Perhaps like a long drawn-out discussion "the point" has yet to be made. We are witnesses to an evolution, a progression, an unfolding. Quantum science may lead us to some understanding here. Imagine the desert is never static, but continually refreshed by our own minds as perceivers and observers. Yes, we can count more Prickly Pear covering our old range lands and discern quite rationally why they have come to grow there and proliferate as they have. Yet we live together (in a way). How do we know that the Prickly Pear aren't somehow following our example and taking up as much real estate as they can! As a living unit we are unique over the span of time - us, the prickly pear, the mockingbird, the Mexican palo verde, et. al. We all probably came from different directions to get here, but here we are together creating a life as such it is.
Explore your home, the Sonoran desert, as a living, breathing, changing being. It will perhaps never be what it was today, and you can say you were there to see it.