My little climate-change reality

Now, this much is for sure, in the wider world a whole lot of people are having a lot worst experience with climate change than I am here in Hope Ness, southwestern Ontario, Canada.

Hundreds of homes near Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River waterway systems in parts of Ontario and Quebec have flooded in the past week as a result of unusually high rainfall amounts in the the past month; and then on top of that a storm system bringing several days’ more rain to make those matters even worse.

Extreme wet and unseasonably cold weather has also descended as the deep south states in the U.S. where the turbulent weather has already spawned a lot of destructive and deadly tornado activity.

So, I have to put my little climate problem in the proper perspective and count my blessings.

But I’ve been growing vegetables for a lot of years in this area and I’ve never seen anything like this.

From my point of view those two photos below are worth way more than a thousands words. I took the top one today, May 7. The other one was taken about the same time last year.

 

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May 7, 2017

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By the same time last spring

By this time last year I had that part of my garden cultivated and planted with potatoes, peas and onions. It’s normal for me to get those early, hardy and semi-hardy crops in by late April. As you can see, the potato plants had already emerged; so had the peas, so much so that I judged it time already to stake and string them for support.

But this year the ground is still too wet to get on with my tractor and cultivator, let alone plant anything

The sun was finally shining today after a week or more of clouds and rain. But it’s still darn cold, certainly for May 7 when it would normally be double-digit warm, not just above freezing. That cold north or north-east wind has been blowing steady with the exception of maybe a few days since mid-April. The temperature was just over the freezing point last night at 1 degree Celsius. It got up to about 6 today. Those temperatures are about the same as in Alaska, or Canada’s far-north Yukon territory.

Climate change, caused by global warming, is happening. But that doesn’t make sense some might say because it’s unusually cold in some places, like here in southern Ontario and parts of the U.S. near and south of the Great Lakes.

But here’s the thing, the Arctic region is warming faster than the rest of the world. Vast regions of permafrost in Canada’s north are melting, releasing large quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The Arctic Ocean’s sea-ice cover is shrinking. The huge glacier covering Greenland, is retreating at an alarming rate, sending rivers of melt-water into the north Atlantic.

One of the consequences of the temperature change over the Arctic is an apparent disruption of the former, relative stability of high-altitude, northern air currents, especially the Jet Stream. Whereas it could be depended on to go north at this time of year, it has shown an increasing tendency to break up into south-seeking lobes, one of which appears to have taken a liking  to the Great Lakes area; so much so that it tends to stick around for quite a while instead of going back north where it belongs.

You’ll notice I didn’t say anything about climate scientists, their studies, and the growing body of evidence regarding what I just described, or exposed, in plain English. That’s because as soon as you say, science, climate change, and global warming, the deniers, like you-know-who and his Environment Protection Agency secretary Scott Pruitt will just sniff with derision and say the science is wrong, that it’s all just a hoax – at least the part about about it being caused by human activity. They’ll say climate change has happened before, it’s just natural. And besides, they’ll say the science has been discredited, or the science is still inconclusive . . . and so on. And millions of climate-change deniers/conspiracy theorists will say, see we told you, it’s a globalist/leftist plot to destroy America.

Oh my, I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned science. But I’m hard to stop once I get going.

So, what do I know? I’m just an old vegetable gardener who in all the years he’s been planting potatoes, peas, onions, spinach, lettuce, beets and other early spring crops has never seen the like of this spring’s cold wet weather.

It may not be the end of the world for a while yet; and the sun has finally come out again today, though it’s still darned cold. At this rate I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get my sweet corn, squash and beans planted.

But as always I will persevere. It could be a lot worse. It IS a lot worse in some parts of the world where the end for millions of people has already come.

I see in the news the noted theoretical physicist and learned man, Stephen Hawking, has said humans have got  100 years to find another home somewhere in the universe because the future of the Earth is becoming so “precarious.”

I wouldn’t write him off too quickly about that, as some observers have. I think it’s fair to say he’s trying to shock-start a serious, soul-searching discussion about the future of our fragile, little planetary home. I mean, in about 200 years we’ve managed to do a lot of harm to a planet that’s billions of years old. How much more can it take? Not much, I venture to say.

But – and it’s not because I’m too old anyway to buy a ticket on the first warp-drive ark out of here –  despite appearances to the contrary a lot of the time, I tend to be a hopeful stalwart when it comes to the outlook for the human race and the Earth.

We may or may not be able to turn things around soon enough to save ourselves and our world. But I, for one, would rather spend my last few years fighting that good fight.

Hear me, my children, this beautiful little planet, this shining jewel in the Cosmos is our blessing. Don’t give up on it, and don’t give up on yourselves. Have courage and be of good spirit, and all will be well.

4 thoughts on “My little climate-change reality

    • Thanks for your comments, and thanks for being one of my most faithful followers. Not in the polltical sense, of course. By the way I gather you have a German background and maybe love great music as much as I do. I listened to Brahm’s 2nd Symphony on the CBC a few days ago and have been humming it constantly ever since. And speaking of Richard Strauss, Thus Spake Zarathustra, was one of my favourites growing up, even before the movie 2001 – A Space Odyssey.

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      • No, my background is Australian for several generations, and British before that. Meikle is my married name and Scottish not German (rhymes with treacle, not cycle) which I realise is very confusing! But you’re right about the music. I suspect I absorbed Beethoven subliminally while I slept in my cot (my dad was big fan), love Brahms, Mozart, Bach…

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