While there are still climate deniers, there are fewer every day. I wondered many times what it would take for people to notice life as they knew it no longer existed. It’s starting to happen now.
Last winter our area had half the average snow fall we should get, most cheered because it meant less shoveling and fewer dangerous days on the roads. This year we haven’t had winter. Our average temperatures should be below freezing and yet we are experiencing temperature fluctuations between mid 40s and mid 60s. And our snowfall? We should have 40 inches per season, we’ve had 3 inches total so far.
Everyone is starting to talk about the dangers to our other seasons should we continue to have these mild winters. The talk ranges from the increase in bug problems to possible droughts. Many still haven’t connected the heavy rains which are causing flooding with global warming, but they will. Of course, this talk is tempered with a bit of a thrill that heating bills are lower and giving our finances a break.
Then the other day the Guardian reported that parts of the US will, and are, warming faster than the rest of the globe. Specifically, the Northeastern portion of the US is warming faster and will see 2C before the rest of the world. The study cited found that this section of the US will warm 50 percent faster than the rest of the US. This is just another fact to add to what we here in the northeast know is happening.
While lower heating bills is a plus – being that we are using less fossil fuels to stay warm – the lack of hard freezing will reduce crop yields. Certain plants need a good solid freeze to produce. Our cherry harvests are contingent on just the right mix of cold and warm temperatures. Without a hard freeze our maple trees won’t produce the sap necessary to make maple syrup. The beautiful spring bulbs that push up each year through the snow and provide sustenance for bees until the summer plants are in bloom won’t come up without the cold of a typical winter.
Eight foods we won’t have due to global warming you might not have thought about. Do a search on crop failures and global warming and you will find pages and pages of articles dating back more than a decade on the consequences of global warming on our food crops. Wheat, corn, wine pop up most frequently but taking a closer look you will find that with wheat and corn yields falling so too will be the ability to raise the animals that are fed these food crops.
Life has already changed and it will continue to morph as the years pass. Children are bemoaning the lack of snow to build snowmen or have snowball fights. My neighbor boys are bummed they aren’t earning as much from shoveling, a source of income children have counted on for generations. After a long winter I know spring is here when I hear the chirping of birds that have returned, this winter, we have new nests built in the late fall and birds who never left.
It’s time to stop living like there is no tomorrow, because if we don’t there really won’t be a tomorrow. Forget leaving a world for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we are now trying to preserve the life we remember for ourselves.