On thin ice

Contrary to the petroleum-industry pawns in public office, there’s no shortage of evidence of global warming – or climatic instability, to be more precise.

In the 20 years I’ve lived and gardened where I do, we’ve moved a whole growing zone ahead – out of 11. In effect, we’ve gained two full frost-free months.

For perspective, consider a friend who recently moved to town. He took cuttings of one shrub in his new yard to the local nursery and asked what he could do to assure their flowering next year.

Nothing, he was told. Our weather’s now too warm for that species to bloom.


Which brings me to January.

It’s typically the coldest month of the year, the one where we get subzero temps and freezing water pipes, if we’re not vigilant.

What we’re not supposed to be getting is readings up into the 60s, as we are now. Not 6 or minus 6. Sixty-three, yesterday.

We haven’t even had many single-digit numbers this season. A few in the teens.

It’s scary.

We remember the warm spell a few years ago that killed all that year’s peaches in the Northeast. Or, more accurately, the seasonally appropriate deep cold a few days later did.


Snowfall is another matter. Usually, much of January is too cold for it to snow. Instead, we got a half-dozen inches after Christmas, then followed by a slow, misty rain, which then froze solid. The white’s still there, but you have to be careful. You walk on top of it and slide, rather than sink inches into it. It’s treacherous.

Or was until yesterday. Our neighbor was out in his shorts and a T-shirt to finish shoveling his driveway, the part that his monster snowblower couldn’t quite handle.

I was able to get out on my cross country skis a few times in December, for the first time in three or four years. But after that I didn’t dare on this stuff, there was no way to control my movement. At my age, a fall could put me in traction. Banish the thought.

Meanwhile, I hear that the ice on our lakes is too thin for the ice fishermen, who usually populate the expanses with their colorful bob houses this time of year. Nope, not so far this one. Look, there’s a whole subculture devoted to that practice, and I’d bet the majority of them keep voting for the villains. It’s insane.


Well, the prophets of all this were poobahed back in the ’60s when their scientific projections saw it coming. And the self-interests of the oil industry have continued to decry it, shifting their stance along the way from “It’s phony” to “It’s just a normal fluctuation” to “It’s inevitable and we can’t do anything anyway.”

Doesn’t anyone else see how they’re on thin ice, just just as ignorant as the innocent polar bears caught up in their greedy blindness?

And as for the rest of us? I mean, if our temperatures here are running 20 to 40 degrees above normal, I hate to think about summer. How hot would that make it where you live? Maybe they’re hoping to rake in on our increased air-conditioning bills, too.

How about you?

2 thoughts on “On thin ice

  1. The fact of climate change should be undeniable. The cause is a little more murky. It seems the ultimate hubris for humanity to claim sole responsibility. After all, was it not colder in the 14th century? That wasn’t man-made.

    And weren’t scientists 40 years ago predicting a new ice age? I seem to recall a Time magazine cover story…

    To do what we can to curtail greenhouse gas emissions would seem to make sense – we are called to wise stewardship of the planet. But I am unconvinced that we will be able to effect any change.

    That is partly due to our inability to affect natural processes, and partly due to our sinful natures. The developing nations are not willing (as I understand it) to slow their development in the interests of climate preservation – they feel that is others’ responsibility.

    Which leaves a dilemma. How much am I willing to sacrifice when others don’t or won’t?

    1. I remember hearing a few bold scientists in the ’60s whose projections have since proved to be on-target.
      In the years since, I’ve come to trust the scientists among my friends who insist the time before catastrophe is growing shorter but we sill insist there are actions we can collectively take to lessen its impact.
      According to them, the data show that the U.S. still emits far more harmful emissions per capita than other nations, and we can curb that. We need to be a leader there, not a follower.
      I do appreciate the dilemma you pose, but also wonder how much of what we do has to feel like a sacrifice. (No, I’m not turning the thermostat down to 55 or moving to the tropics, but I can point to a slew of other ways my household conserves.)
      That said, some of the small steps we can take will simplify our lives and even save us money.
      But beyond that, I see a Scriptural thread that points us become a unique people, one that doesn’t follow “worldly” conventions.
      What we do in faith doesn’t depend on what others do, does it, but rather on what’s right?
      Thanks for speaking up.

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