I’m the guy who spent the last week trying to figure out if I was allowed to enjoy these unseasonably warm temperatures. I mean 75 and sunny, for multiple days, in February? This must be wrong…but it feels so right!
Turns out, Jay-Z feels the same way:
Me enjoying this weather but knowing our Earth is danger pic.twitter.com/Jy6bINvZ6C
— breanna (@bre_lliant) February 19, 2017
In all seriousness, yes, a vanishing winter (caused by human activity) is super fucked up and yes, it’s also okay to enjoy great weather. Preventing yourself from enjoying the present moment doesn’t make climate change go away. Being sad is not a solution.
This moral question really gets at the complexity of this struggle. An article on the Atlantic digs into this a little more and I explore the highlights below:
- Warm winters seem to really affect the public’s perception of climate change, as shown by Gallup polling, who even says that a “continuation of such weather patterns would likely do more than anything politicians and even climate-change scientists can to further raise public concern”.
- That sounds like a positive thing, except it’s faulty logic on our part. Weather isn’t the same thing as climate, so there’s a chance that these high temps aren’t even caused by climate change. When we look at this week and make a judgment on the climate, we’re trying to make a correlation this isn’t always there. This is why Donald Trump is dead wrong when he blasts global warming as a hoax because he feels cold.
It’s freezing and snowing in New York–we need global warming!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
Instead, we should be looking at longer term trends in temperatures.
The staggering and humbling and worrying moment as a scientist comes when we see that 2015 shattered the record for 2014, and 2016 shattered the record for 2015.
- The symptoms of climate change are hitting everyone differently, but some people aren’t getting hit at all. While scientists talk about extreme storms and a future of increasingly scorching summers, the “vast majority” of Americans are actually experiencing increasingly pleasant weather. However, this is apparently a trap. Because when those symptoms start showing up for all of us, it will be too late to do anything about it.
- Little did I know…
there are a large number of stakeholders in the agricultural community who see doom more clearly in them than we do.
For instance, peach trees require a certain number of chilling hours—that is, exposure to weather below 45 degrees—in order to produce a bountiful crop. Optimally, Georgia’s peach-farming regions want to experience about 1,000 chilling hours before the arrival of spring. This year, according to the Macon Telegraph, some farms have recorded as few as 470—and they have little hope of seeing temperatures fall again before spring. This story has been repeated across the country for essentially any plant that requires some amount of wintertime chilling.
Shit… I love peaches.
Let’s do something about this, if only #forthepeaches.