Headline, January 31 2024/ ''' SWISS CLIMATE SWIRL '''

''' SWISS 


A WAY OF LIFE MELTING AWAY : RISING TEMPERATURES and retreating glaciers are forcing Swiss farmers to adapt.

FOR CENTURIES, Swiss farmers have sent their cattle, goats and sheep up the mountain to graze in warmer months before bringing them back down at the start of autumn.

Devised in the Middle Ages to save precious grass in the valleys for winter stock, the tradition of ''summering'' has so transformed the countryside into a patchwork of forests and pastures that maintaining its appearance was written into the Swiss Constitution as an essential role of agriculture.

It has also knitted together essential threads of the country's identity : alpine cheeses, hiking trails that crisscross summer pastures, cowbells echoing off the mountainsides.

In December, the United Nations heritage agency UNESCO added the Swiss tradition to the exalted ''Intangible cultural heritage'' list.

But climate change threatens to scramble those traditions. Warming temperatures, glacier loss, less snow and an earlier snow melt are forcing farmers across Switzerland to adapt.

Not all are feeling the changes in the same way in a country where the Alps create many microclimates.

Some are enjoying bigger yields on summer pastures, allowing them to extend their alpine seasons. Others are being forced by more frequent and intense droughts to descend earlier with their herds.

The more evident the effect on the Swiss, the more potential trouble it spells for all of Europe.

Switzerland has long been considered Europe's water tower, the place where deep winter snows would accumulate and gently melt through the warmer months, augmenting the trickling run off from thick glaciers that helped sustain many of Europe's rivers and its ways of life for centuries.

Today, the Alps are warming about twice as fast as the global average, according to the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In the past two years alone, Swiss glaciers have lost 10 percent of their water volume -as much as melted in three decades from 1960 to 1990.

The government is trying to address the changes and preserve Swiss alpine traditions. Among the efforts are large infrastructure projects to take water to the top of the mountains for animals grazing in the summer months.

For now, the traditions while strained in places, continue. After three days of scrambling over rocky mountainsides and zigzagging stone steps, the first sheep in a giant herd of nearly 700 burst into view at the end of their ''summering'' last fall.

As a crowd of spectators cheered, some of the sheep pranced. Others stopped dead in their tracks and had to be coaxed along by herders in matching plaid shirts and leather cowboy hats adorned with wildflowers and feathers.

The sheep had been living wild for more than three months - wandering around a high, vast wilderness penned in by glaciers.

Their only contact with humanity had been the visits of a single shepherd, Fabrice Gex, who says he loses more than 30 pounds [14 KG] a season walking the territory to check on them.

'' I bring them salt, cookies and love,'' said MrGex, 49.

The tradition of alpine pasturing or ''transhumance,'' spreads all across the Alps, including Austria, Italy and Germany.

Nearly half of Switzerland's livestock farms send their goats, sheep and cows up to summer pastures, according to the last thorough study done by government scientists in 2014.

More than 80 percent of alpine farm income comes from government subsidies - many for keeping the pastures land clear of encroaching trees, which are nudging uphill with warmer temperatures.

That makes Switzerland a rare country that does not embrace tree cover as a solution to climate change.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Climate Change and the future world, continues. The World Students Society thanks Catherine Porter.

!WOW! also thanks Paula Haase who contributed reporting from Hamburg, Germany, Elise Boehm from Bologna, Italy; and Leah Suss from Zurich and Belalp, Switzerland.

With most respectful dedication to the people of Switzerland, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See You all prepare for Great Global Elections on !WOW! :

The exclusive and eternal ownership of every student in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter X !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!