Arguments on whether or not we “believe” in climate change seem completely ridiculous to me. At best they’re just poorly worded. Raw data is not to be “believed” in – it’s to be interpreted, and preferably by knowledgeable people who are dedicated to science above any ideology or the stubborn insistence that they’re never wrong, and therefore their first assumption is always right.
See, raw data persistently demonstrates that average (average, I said, AVERAGE) temperatures, globally speaking, are increasing steadily in ways that, as our current scientific knowledge dictates, will lead to the rising of sea levels. Additionally, meteorological phenomena (right, I’m supposed to simplify my word choice to make my contributions to public discourse more accessible – “weather” is what that phrase means) of undesirable consequences seem to be occurring more frequently. Drought in some areas, flooding in others, prolonged heat waves, and what we in Canada call streaks-of-cold-as-FUCK can be seen almost year to year rather than the once or twice a decade about which the public reminisces from 20th century “simpler times”.
“Climate change” can’t exactly be declared based on recent memory. While I’m not a climate scientist I would logically assume it’s a long period of “grey area” during which weather surges into a streak of volatility and eventually settles into something more consistent, but with a changed pattern and accompanying ecosystem, for better or worse.
Now – whether this weather (haha, get it?) change is anthropogenic (sorry, habit – “man-made”) is far too focused on as the center of this debate. Some conclusions through thorough scientific analysis say yes – in fact, most do. The skepticism of this (read: unwillingness to change) is, nevertheless, widespread. In wealthy countries many of us don’t want to sacrifice any part of our way of life, and industry along with the politicians they own don’t want to sacrifice their way of business. In rising countries those acquiring greater wealth don’t want to be denied the luxuries the countries that are rich now indulged in before finding out the consequences. There are so many other practical reasons to change these habits, but those are ignored because climate change is an easier target. (I’m not going to make an elaborate list but I’ll mention a couple big ones: roads cost a lot of taxpayer money, coal severely lowers air quality, and wind and sunlight simply exist so let’s find a way to use them.)
Up until the very day I’m typing this (or rather, the day before), it has been an unseasonably warm winter this year. There are reasons to enjoy this, clearly, but with agriculture being the region’s primary industry there could be consequences that will ensue this spring. Freezing and melting going back and forth on roads and sidewalks creates potholes that need to be filled throughout the winter rather than when March or April come around. Geese are singing songs by The Clash. When different weather happens, the effects go beyond the temperature we can feel from the air.
And some of those effects are heartbreaking. My parents got a puppy last summer. She is now nine or ten months old, so this is her first winter. She is a golden retriever, with a very useful coat for winter months. Seeing dogs, particularly puppies in their first winter, play in fresh snow at least a foot high, is perhaps equivalent to a child’s laughter. A snow-filled winter is a fantastic time for most dogs. Lexi, as this puppy is called, may not get a real “first winter”. We may complain about the cold temperatures and inches of new snow to tread through when winter is occurring, but it’s shaped us in ways we tend not to appreciate in day-to-day life. If this kind of winter will become the new norm, what kinds of treasured moments and activities will we lose?