As I type this, we here in Brooklyn are ‘enjoying’ (pardon the usage) temperatures a good 20 degrees F below normal for this time of year. There have been weeks upon weeks of snowstorms every week, with below-average temperatures. I broke out my famous V-Rex bicycle in anticipation of spring, only to find that exertion left me breathless owing to the extra-cold air hitting my lungs. It was agony to pedal on the uphills earlier today when I joined a group called the Cyclistas, who were trying to seed-bomb Brooklyn in anticipation of spring. Alternating layers of Spandex and Thinsulate weren’t getting it done. And this is not NY alone–Boston had a record snow mass this year, and storms all along the Atlantic Seaboard seemed outsized even for this bad winter. Upstate, people suffered through negative temperatures that were all out of scale for even the Finger Lakes region.
Meanwhile, out of sight of our own myopic concentration, in the US, weather was off the charts all over the globe– a single village in Italy logged 100 inches of snow in 18 hours. On the warming side, there was enough heat in the Southern hemisphere to counteract all of our cold and then some. A few days ago, Antarctica logged a record temperature of 63.5 degrees. And (speaking of disruptive changes in weather) not far from the Antarctic, a desert in Chile logged the equivalent of fourteen years of rain in a single day. Such news is the only thing that makes me feel better about Brooklyn’s own winter from Hell.
Supposedly Mark Twain launched the famous adage that ‘everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it’. The credit may belong to someone else named Charles Dudley Warner, who expanded on the idea here: When people were once tried almost beyond endurance by the most exasperating of winters he said, “Everybody is talking about the weather; why doesn’t somebody do something?” and this, with its subtle irony of human futility, is perhaps one of the most representative examples of his wit; but his humor was an aroma which interfused all his thought, and filled his page with the constant surprise of its presence.
But the weather of 2015 is different from the weather of 1900. We know (or should be pretty sure) what’s causing this. The jet stream that passes from Atlantic to Pacific has been moved because of warming oceans. And while the Atlantic Seaboard shivers owing to the change bringing the Polar Vortex south, California is going dry in a way that isn’t easy to reverse. here’s the chart:
And it begs the question–are all the folks doing the complaining (myself included) willing to do something about the weather? And by ‘do something’, I don’t mean change out the lightbulbs or recycle the plastic bottles. Even if you don’t believe we’re looking at near-term human extinction, it’s long past time to stop shrugging our shoulders at what’s happening to the weather as a result of all the crap being pumped into the atmosphere.
You want to change the weather? Get out from behind the farkin’ internets machines and get out on the streets. Start laying serious guilt on your red-state cousins who keep returning people like Rick Scott and James Inhofe to office. And don’t let President Obama and the Democrats off the hook–at SOTU he said that Climate Change was a serious issue and then bragged about the fact that the US was the world’s #1 Oil extrator in the world(and everybody in attendance cheered). We can have lots of oil or we can have a livable climate.