Monday, January 30, 2006

Climate change: We're so screwed

Okay. I'm from Canada. I've lived here all my life. I live in a region of Canada that has some crazy-ass winters. We get tons of snow, it often drops to 30 below in January, we have ice storms, it's bad. I mean, when we saw The Day After Tomorrow, we were like, 'aaaaaand....then it was winter....and then what?' We're still waiting for the punchline. That's how crazy our winters can get.

The times, though, they're a changin'. See, I've had my car coated in ice before. It's common this time of year. I've had my house, my windows, the front steps, the back deck, the birdfeeder all coated in ice. But never have I had myself coated in ice, or my dog.

Today for the first time in my 3-decades-long Canadian life, that happened. The dog and I went for our usual snowshoe walk through the woods, and it was kind of drizzly-snow-raining. And I noticed that my down vest was starting to feel really heavy. When I looked down, I was completely coated in a layer of ice. Then I looked at my dog. He was coated in ice too.

I mean, we were COATED IN A LAYER OF ICE.

This is bad. What if we had a flash-freeze (they're getting more common here) and we just froze in place? It could happen.

What I'm learning about unpredictable global climate change is that its, well, unpredictable. The point is, maybe there will be new weather patterns we've never seen before, whole new types of precipitation--like the death-ice I experienced today. We are so screwed, because the whole thing about unpredictable change is that can't prepare for it.

That was scary, but then I read something that really pissed me off. Why would they repress information about this?

Information is power. That's why the Internet is so great. So here are some facts: Like the region they talk about in the article above, we've had the warmest January ever this year. Over the last three or four years, we've had the most bizarre winter weather I've seen. Last year, it was slush-falling-from-the-sky, and this year it's human-coating death-ice. It's not a good pattern.

What's my point? I have no idea. Except that obviously I need to learn more about this. And every time we're hit with some new godforsaken type of winter weather, I'll wonder: is this climate change in action? Because sometimes it's hard to see the cliff when you're just shuffling along with your head down, watching your own feet.


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