Friday, January 12, 2007

Worried about winter

Recently, our local paper published this statement in their editorial:

Where's winter?: While the unusually mild winter has many environmentalists predicting the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it, we're more inclined to agree with Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips who suggests it's wrong to look at one year and scream "climate change." Yes, it's been balmy and snow has been nearly non-existent. Our suggestion: Quit whining and enjoy it while it lasts.


I found this very annoying, so I just had to write a letter to the editor. Of course, they didn't publish it. But, that's what blogs are for, right? Anyway, here's what I wrote:

I find the Beaver's blasé attitude towards climate change very hard to understand. While the current mild weather is very nice - who doesn't enjoy +10 degrees Celsius and sunshine - it also has an ominous feel to it. David Phillips may have said that this particular weather event cannot be irrefutably linked to "permanent climate change". But this is always true for any given weather event. Climate change is an overall trend that emerges from many individual events. In fact, in a recent interview David Phillips also said:

"Are there any doubting Thomases any more? The evidence is irrefutable that Canada is warming up, the world is warming up and the evidence just keeps pouring in. It's likely sooner rather than later we'll see the ice disappear in summertime in the Arctic and that'll be the first time in a million years."

(Alan Black, Canadian Press, "Top Weather Stories of 2006", December 28, 2006, accessed January 7, 2007.)

Your story about the boys who were able to toboggan in front of their house thanks to the neighbours who brought in "snow" from a nearby arena also made me think.
It makes me sad that my two-year-old daughter's only experience with a "snow man" so far is of the blow-up kind that is now so popular during the holiday season.
I can't help but remember the fun times I had playing in the snow when I was a kid, and wondering if she'll ever have similar experiences.

And let's not forget that for some, this weather is not all that wonderful. I'm sure that the 1,300 people laid off at Blue Mountain Ski Resort are not quite so happy. In addition, many plants and animals depend on "normal" winter weather (see "Warm winter could hurt hibernating animals: researcher").
Many plants will also be at a disadvantage if we finally do get a cold snap, especially those that depend on a layer of snow for insulation from the
cold.

In addition to enjoying this warmer weather, we should be thinking about actions that we can all take to reduce our impact on the climate, such as reducing car
trips, conserving electricity, and recycling and reducing waste. These sites have some great lists of actions:

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/
http://www.lightenupontario.ca/conservation-tips.asp
As well as my own blog:
http://climatechangecdn.blogspot.com/search/label/actions


Unfortunately, it seems that they found this blog to be a bit overwhelming, as their next editorial complained about how there was too much information around on the climate change issue:

Perhaps the real fear should be that so much talk of impending doom for our planet may drive those who fail to see how they can impact this global problem into a state of complacency.


Huh? Possibly the real problem is not too much information, but rather bad editing.

1 comment:

skdadl said...

Well said, LN, and that was a most reasonable letter. If they weren't all no-nothing attitude, the editors would have seen that you were doing some valuable work for them.