This started out as a comment, but it grew to be more. It’s incredibly hot outside. I was out there early this morning to hose down the deck both to clean it and water the flowerboxes. I also put out drinking water for the squirrels and birds.

It’s obviously not unusual to get hot spells in the summer, but these hot spells are hotter and last longer than the ever did in the past. We might get a couple of day in July where we almost hit 100 degree (39 C). Now, we get hot spells in the middle of the winter which is weird.

Earth’s day in court

I’m looking for something positive, so I’m open to suggestions. But I know some climate scientists and a few meteorologists — and they believe we have warmed up even more than we’ve heard. Also, the heating up isn’t the same everywhere. It’s patchy.

For example, Switzerland’s temperature has gone up much more than the U.K.’s while around here, it has gone up a bit less. On our west coast — California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Washington State, and more — the temperature has not only gone higher, but the rain has stopped. It’s unbelievably hot out there. Granted it was hot already in parts of the west, but now temperatures you only saw in desert states — like Arizona — are cooking San Francisco. Temperatures in the 100s were unusual. Now, when it DROPS BELOW 100, that’s news.

Such temperatures were non-existent in places like Oregon, Washington, and northern California. These areas were cooled by prevailing winds and ocean breezes — but those winds don’t prevail anymore. The oceans are warmer, especially the Atlantic. If you grew up along this coast, you know what the water was like when we were young — and how different it is now.

We can quibble about exactly how much higher the temperature has gone, but regardless, we are seeing broiling hot summers in places like Mongolia and the Yukon (Canada), not to mention the disintegration of the ice sheets.

How much is too much?

Half of this country is on fire. Another quarter is flooded. We have storms that are so big they start out in the Pacific and go all the way across the continent to the Atlantic. That’s a gigantic storm. We used to call them “once in a century” storms, but now we get dozens of them all year round.

Ironically, up here in the northeast, we have had less destructive weather than out west and down south. We’ve been lucky but I doubt our luck will last indefinitely. Boston is below sea level because the coast was originally water and marshes. These areas were drained in the 19th and early 20th centuries, so from water they came and back to water they will go.

We can see what is going on. The fires. The parched earth. The floods. The death of the ice sheets. The change in the prevailing winds. The warming of the oceans. The changes in bird and animal life because of the loss of their habitat. I think quibbling about this is why we aren’t doing anything about it. The earth has changed and keeps changing — not in a good way.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

This mess didn’t start 20 years ago, either. We’ve been cutting down forests, trashing our oceans, and killing off our wildlife as long as we’ve had the weaponry and trash to do it. Hell, before we were Homo Sapiens we killed off the Woolly Mammoths — and that was using stone spears.

What we need to do is agree that whatever we did and however it happened, IT HAPPENED. We need to do something about it and we need to do it soon, not “someday we’ll get around to it.” If we don’t agree on this basic issue — that this damage was caused by humans and humans need to fix it — it won’t get fixed. Ever.

Whether it’s in smaller or larger temperature increments, we are still going to make this planet unlivable. Piece by piece, as the rains don’t fall and the temperatures are too high for the plants we used to grow, there will be hunger. Meanwhile, many edible fish can’t live in these warming oceans. We’ve already killed off a BILLION BIRDS in the past 50 years and are killing millions more each year.

Arguing about details is stealing precious time and making too many people think “Oh, it really isn’t such a big deal.”

It is IS a big deal and has been for a long time.

This is scary stuff. Many of us are sure we won’t live to see how this ends, but I know — reports or not — if we don’t stop destroying the forests and filling our oceans with garbage, those two things alone will do us in.

I know I sound preachy, but this preys on my mind.

We have to fix it. Because we broke it.

Categories: Blackstone Valley, climate, climate change

Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. Marilyn, I only wish you were wrong…. We see the same thing happening even here, in ‘indoor’ (of sea & large, large woods) Switzerland. And I often had temps of 50°C in France where I lived for 12 years. We had strong storms several times here and very heavy rans, no summer except this now ending week… and it’s all man made!


  2. This is so important that I have moved it to my first choice of the most important political issue facing the country. I think anybody who believes thata climate change is not happening should be sent to the low desert in Southern California (Borrego Springs, Salton Sea, etc. across the southern border) for the summer to see what has happened — and then to several of the lakes along the dammed rivers which are the major source of water for the area.

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    • I have trouble believing anyone doesn’t REALLY recognize our planet is in trouble — and so are we. I suppose on one level, the PLANET is fine. WE are in trouble. The planet can usually find a way to remake itself, but I don’t think humans will be able to do that. There have always been fires in the west, but not like now. It’s as if every aspect of our climate is out of control. There are no “local” storms. Everything is supersized. Lately, these heat waves are the size of the entire continent.

      There is no more normal and unless we deal with what’s left, there won’t be a future for anyone. Or more to the point, it’ll be the kind of dystopian future sci fi writers have created — but for real!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly my point when I say this is the most important issue our leaders must deal with — if they don’t, there won’t be a future for anyone. I’m glad there are a few more years, but I don’t really want to be around when it all comes to a fiery end!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re absolutely right. We all need to do our part


  4. Not every phenomenon is 100% down to climate change. I can give an example: bumblebees buzzing around in January or February. This is actually quite a normal thing (in Europe, at least). The queen bees thaw out of their hibernation torpor on warm winter days and go for a bumble to collect any nectar they can find. But some people think this is utterly unnatural and only due to climate change. Maybe it is partially climate change (more warmer days) but it’s not freakery. Bumblebees always have gone buzzing around in late winter. it’s just that nowadays with all the talk of climate change we’re more inclined to notice them.


    • I think it depends on where you live and whether or not a winter thaw is normal in your part of the world. There are parts of the U.S. where the bees never hibernate because it never gets very cold. However, up here in the northeast, deep winter — end of December through March — it is very cold. There are normally NO insects. The ground is frozen and it’s supposed to be frozen. It’s part of the cycle of plants that grow in this region.

      Nothing is true everywhere. Because YOUR bees wake up in the winter doesn’t mean ours do. Here in this part of the country, March is not spring. It’s full winter.

      Obviously seasons are not set in stone but that deep winter time of year is very important to keep our orchards producing apples, for example. Without the freeze, the apples don’t come out crispy. Also, deep snow is critically important to keeping the aquifer functional.

      Not everything is related to climate change, but many things are related to it that no one notices. The arrival here of lethal mosquitoes is one of them. These insects never got this far north. It was too cold for them. This year, for the first time ever, our Rhododendrons seem to be planning to bloom twice. They have never done this before. I don’t know if they do this in other regions, but this year has been seasonal crazy time.

      Other things, like the sudden arrival of many huge white sharks to our shores is because the ocean is warmer which brought the seals which the sharks like to eat. On the other hand, the whales are disappearing because the water is too warm for them and our big fisheries are not doing well because the water’s too warm for the fish who normally breed there.

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    Liked by 1 person

    • There are a lot of calculations about exactly how MUCH earth’s temperature has risen. I think it doesn’t matter because July was the hottest month Earth has ever seen — and it’s still blindingly hot out there. We KNOW we broke it. Instead of arguing about “how much” we broke, maybe we could productively use that time to start repairing the damage.

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