It snowed about three inches on November 15, 2018 where I live, on the mid-Atlantic coast of the USA. This is a curious occurrence as, in recent years, the seasons seemed to have shifted, winter not truly starting until around February–that is, if we have something called winter at all. (Summer begins in March and goes until about November, with Fall mixing with occasional winter until after the new year. There is no such thing as Spring anymore.)
Yes, this is going to be one of those environmentalist apocalypse commentaries, and if that does not interest you I suggest you stop right now–
With that out of the way, those of you with a deeper concern about either climate change, or with its being a conspiracy against industry, invented by liberal crazies or the Chinese (perhaps in cahoots with one another?), I believe we should flatly look at some facts. I want to discuss an ordeal I suffered from just eight months ago from the time I write this. This was in March, 2018:
Winter was over, and it had been a pretty rough one. There were swirling, massive, intermittent snowstorms, that were followed by unseasonably warm days where the torrents of rain washed the all of the ice away. That March is was generally around 55-60 degrees (Fahrenheit), and there were fresh bugs seemingly forming from thin air and then racing around everywhere (on a side note, there are something like seven billion people on earth, or at least some massive number that will eventually suck all human resources dry. Know how many bugs there are on earth? Sixty trillion, it is estimated. Does anyone really think that we have a future ruling this planet?).
That summer had seen seventeen straight days over ninety-five degrees, a horrendous experience. The humidity was so penetrating that you would wake up in the morning immediately exhausted. Of course this same humidity would frequently crack the sky open into torrential rainstorms, several category 3, 4 and even 5 hurricanes as we reached the fall, tornadoes in the Midwest and fires racing along the entire left coast, which had seen almost no rain below Oregon. The United States seemed under siege by an angry god, hurling lightning bolts and flame down on the betrayals of mankind.
But I am not religious, so let that stand as the image from a fairy tale, giving vent to the anger of mother earth. All we need to say is that the weather went from one extreme to the other very quickly. This radical change in temperature, as we should all know (and I unfortunately know personally rather well) leads to the outbreak of illness, the human body not equipped to handle shifts of forty degrees from one day to the next. The influenza bug and other mutated diseases managed to metastasize several times throughout the fall and winter until they became drug resistant, and started killing people en mass once again. I got a flu shot that year, something I rarely have done, and managed to get the flu twice, holed up in baking misery and annoying my family with my general incapacity over those weeks when we needed far more active effort.
But March. I was talking about the middle of March. If anyone recalls, there was a cycle of four Nor’easters, those brutal storms that usually come and go very rapidly, and leave quite a bit of destruction in their wakes. So we got the first one, which dumped something like six inches of snow with tree snapping winds. Okay. No problem. The kids got a day off of school, my teacher wife a day free from work, and we dug ourselves out and played.
The next day was in the fifties, and the snow melted. Back to work. Back to school. Then we were hit with another Nor’easter the day after, this one much stronger. We were blanketed by nine or ten inches of snow, and the dirty scraps left behind from the first storm petrified into slick ice, making driving nearly impossible. Because the first storm had come and gone so quickly, most people only went out to get rock salt, and maybe a jug of milk. Now we were all house bound, with limited supplies. A few erratic, claustrophobic individuals made their ways out boldly in their SUVs, and many of them got stuck, or crashed into each other. Near where I live two people even died.
The following day we were hit with a third nor-easter, this one resembling the first, another six inches of snow, blanketing the very hard work most of us did the day before, and mocking us for such strenuous effort. The children were thrilled, still, sledding and rolling down the hill in our backyard. The dog romped around in the snow joyously. We made hot chocolate and watched the best movie for being snowbound, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (something I would watch on snow days, over and over until it snapped, on a crusty VHS tape recorded from HBO when I was a child. Now we had Netflix and could watch it immediately, in pristine letterbox, whenever we wanted.)
The following day was seventy-five degrees. I got sick again. My daughter got sick. All the more than one foot of snow melted into rivers running down the street. In the rain gutters you could see an ominous black lake, running high. There was an actual threat that it would overflow and reek into our basements.
We looked around the neighborhood, walking around in t-shirts and shorts, and noticed the damage that had been done to our roofs. We realized that we were still trapped in our houses because so many trees had fallen down, blocking our passage to everywhere.
We sat at home and watched the news with the dire warning that yet another nor-easter was rampaging down to bury us the following day. No one believed it. It was in the seventies! What could one last storm do?
Fourteen inches of snow. We were all exhausted and sick. The children were actually longing to return to school. We were bored. We were angry. We blamed Mother Nature. We blamed our stupidity for not heeding her cry.
The term ‘global warming’ has always been a tragic misnomer. The implication, while certainly true, is that it is simply too hot any longer for a series of storms such as this–and in the middle of March to boot! It provides ammunition for those who simultaneously promote human greatness while dismissing our ability to influence anything important on our planet. They disregard the floating miles of trash piling up in the ocean with a cold ‘where else should we put it? I certainly don’t want it piling up near my home!’ People of this perspective even ignore the fact that water sometimes lights on fire because its chemical make-up has changed so drastically it is more like C8H18 than H20. It really is the carbon, it turns out.
Of course on the other side of this not-really-debate, because the science proves them right, we have apocalyptic Cassandras, screaming about immediate death. Coming from any side, within any debate, this warning can never carry much weight. “It is the end times!” people shriek. “The Antichrist is coming! The messiah is already here!”
Crazy people, we all say. No one wants to hear someone telling us we must repent for our sins, or else we will suffer for eternity in some sort of man-made hell. And as much as this is probably true, the last days look more like Waterworld (an unjustly trashed movie starring Kevin Costner), than any religious epic with fire and demons, or the dead rising, or spacemen coming to conquer us. It is a world of melting ice caps and rising water, and more and more humidity and heat that will make the storms of winter that much more severe.
This is our world today whether we like it or not. Whether we want to admit this to ourselves or not. For those of you too religious to take the science seriously, please allow me to suggest something else. You know how God promised He would never again cause a flood like the one in the time of Noah? God is a liar. The Great Flood is coming again. We have the technology to assure this.
We always have wanted to make fantasy into reality. Congratulations, people. We seem to be on the verge of making these very myths come true. Won’t it be miraculous to see before all of our heads sink under the water?