Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Burning Questions

I’m watching NBC Nightly News (which probably marks me as old-fashioned but I’m also on the Internet so I’m technically straddling old and new media). Anyway, I’m following the stories about the fires in and around San Diego and Los Angeles with morbid fascination as figures come flying at me: driest season on record, biggest peacetime evacuation, of people from their threatened homes (dwarfing Katrina), one of the worst fires in California history. It’s nature at work, right? Just like this fall’s tornadoes in Michigan or the drought in Florida? It’s impossible not to ask: is there a connection between what’s going on and global warming? It’s also impossible to say definitively after only one strange autumn. The warm autumn of 2001 prompted similar questions – as did last year’s warm winter. But if you’ve been on the planet long enough (say 40 years or more), you can tell something’s afoot and it’s not just that the hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, ice storms, disappearing shorelines and fluctuating temperatures are being covered and reported like never before. No one’s proved to my complete satisfaction that there is a relationship between individual efforts at energy and resource conservation and the fires in California. Still, I turned off the TV, unplugged the coffeemaker and began to swap out my old bulbs for the new funny-looking, energy-efficient ones. Because it’s impossible not to believe it could make some sort of difference, no matter how small.

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Whether the Weather

My parents moved to Florida to escape the harsh Wisconsin winters; they moved to Sarasota on the west coast to experience weather fluctuations. My mom especially wanted to see storm clouds, wear sweatshirts in January, feel the wind, hear the rain. Given that they lived on a key, they certainly got their wish, actually evacuating a couple of times. Up here in the mid-Atlantic States, we have our own kind of weather fluctuations – an extra warm January, an unusually cold April, tons of snow and buckets of rain. We even get the occasional tornado and odd earthquake. Then, when a string of perfect spring days and nights made for sleeping with the windows open comes along, we may feel we earned it – or we may recognize that weather doesn’t conform to our expectations. Either way, we all get to enjoy it.

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