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For the Love of Snow

This recent foggy snowscape by my house inspired this post. What inspirations do you get from looking at nature?


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I am sitting outside my house in the Catskills/Hudson Valley region of NY. It’s March 3rd, it’s 61°F (16°C), warm and sunny enough to be getting some sun on my face. 


I’ll be honest, I am enjoying it! But at the same time I am worried - something doesn’t feel right. Maybe I feel this way because it is unusually warm - the historic average temperatures in this region in March are around 36 - 40°F, not in the 60s!


Having grown up in the north-eastern Ukraine, where at the time snow was plentiful throughout the winter, I taught my kids to love and appreciate it too. After all, a snow day is a day to spend with your family throwing snowballs, rolling in snow laughing, and making snow angels. It’s a day when the landscape looks magical, you can walk on the road with no cars as if all the world is yours to enjoy, and the trees look like tall white magic creatures dressed up for a winter carnival. 


I am still in awe when it’s snowing, but today I am also in fear. In fear of the warming climate leading to the loss of this white magic, to us never seeing the trees covered in snow where we live, to having to travel far north just to touch these tiny ice crystals, each one a unique work of art. 


In my climate sustainability work, I read a lot about technicalities and scientific explanations of climate change, but there is much less written on the psychological aspects of global warming on humans. So when the other day I came across Bill McKibben’s essay echoing my feelings, I wanted to share it with as many people as I could.


Here are the paragraphs that especially struck a chord with me. They include the scientific facts as well as the personal side of the story. 


“This year in North America has been about as close as we’ve ever come to a year without a winter—the geological obverse of 1816, the year when an Indonesian volcano put so much sulfur into the air that there was no real northern hemisphere summer. We’re the volcano now, and the gases we produce increase the temperature: it was 70 degrees in Chicago yesterday, in February—which was also the day that the Windy City decided to join other American cities in suing the fossil fuel industry for damages. But that was just one of a hundred heat records broken in the course of the day, from Milwaukee to Dallas (94 degrees). But it wasn’t a single day of heat—it’s been an almost unrelentingly warm winter, with by far the lowest snow coverage for this time of year ever recorded (13.8 percent of the lower 48 as of Monday, compared with an average of more than 40 percent) and with the Great Lakes essentially free of ice.”
We are bleeding away the chill that is one of the hallmarks of our planet.That comes with serious pragmatic consequences. In the high Arctic, previously unheard-of thunderstorms are melting ice faster than ever.”
“It’s not functionally required that we be able to glide across the surface of the earth—but losing that is a deeply human cost, at least for some of us. Winter is the most whimsical season by far: nature releases friction for a time, and all of a sudden you can skim across the ground.” 
“The impact of the climate crisis is psychological as well as physical. The deepest patterns of our lives—the ways our bodies understand the cycle of the seasons and the progress of time—are now slipping away. The fight to slow the warming of the planet is the fight to save billions of people and millions of species, but it’s also the fight to hold on to profound beauty and profound meaning, not to mention sheer gorgeous powdery magic.”

I urge you to read the rest of the essay (it’s quite short), and the comments, definitely read the comments! While reading the comments I discovered that I am not alone. There is a community out there afraid of losing our winter as much as I am, and wanting to do, and doing, something about it. Let’s join this community and fight to have our winter, and the rest of the seasons as we know them, back!


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Joan Baez famously said that "Action is the antidote to despair." So, whether you are looking at it from a professional or personal point of view, herehere and here are some actionable steps to help fight Climate Change!


Every action counts, no matter how small!












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