Sometimes change is not good
by Dale Burgos
My cousin’s backyard in Edmonton on September 13, 2018. Photo by Mary Roberts
Talking about the weather is an easy conversation starter. It works best when you are stuck in an elevator with a stranger, in line at a grocery store, or even on a blind date.
“Hot enough for ya?”
“Cold enough for ya?”
“Windy enough for ya?”
It’s easy. Next thing you know, you’re laughing and bonding like you’ve known each other for years.
For years, there has been talk about global warming. We’ve heard multiple warnings from environmentalists like David Suzuki telling us that we are at the tipping point and if we don’t make a conscious change now, it will be too late.
The topic has even made its way to the Burgos dinner table. The question came up about how hot it is getting on Vancouver Island. There hasn’t been a need for air conditioning, and quite frankly, I’m not going to be running out to Costco any time soon to buy a portable AC unit. But if this keeps up, maybe I will.
My response was simple. If it’s getting too hot, Mother Earth will have to cool down. It’s happened before – it was called the Ice Age. Earth is a living being, if it gets sick, it will have to fight that disease to make it healthy again. Dale Jr., never one to pass up an opportunity for a sarcastic comment, says, “The Earth has a heart, it has lungs?”
I gave him the obligatory eye-roll (which happens a lot in my house), and said, “Maybe not like you and me, but it is a living thing.” I should point out, I’m not a scientist who has studied climate change for decades. I’m more like a conspiracy theorist with some whacky ideas.
I assume a major event like the Ice Age wouldn’t happen over night, contrary to the Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, where a weather anomaly causes flash freezing temperatures destroying cities and their inhabitants in its path.
Before you start to think I am losing my mind, let’s take a look at some of the unusual weather patterns this year.
Folks in the south welcomed 2018 with resolutions to buy warmer clothes. Parts of Florida got blanketed with freezing rain and snow on New Years Day, something they have not seen in January since the 1800s.
Also in January, one of the hottest places on earth known for miles of sand dunes saw some snowfall. The Sahara Desert got a bit of the white stuff. While it often gets cold at night, the addition of precipitation made it a late White Christmas for some Africans.
Fast forward to May 2018 here on Vancouver Island. It’s a fact that we live in a rainforest. It rains and there is plenty of vegetation – massive cedars and Douglas firs are a common sight. Yet, May resulted in one of the driest months on record. Victoria recorded only 3.4 mm of rain, where it would normally receive about 40 mm for the month. This was one record I didn’t mind seeing broken.
Come summer time, it got dry in BC. I mean really dry. It was also hot. I mean really hot. This led to a record amount of forest fires across the province. This was one record I wish we didn’t break. Millions of trees, hundreds of thousands of hectares of land destroyed, as well as homes and communities lost. Millions were affected by smoke, not only here in BC but across the country. There was a point when the air quality in my home town was the worst in the world. Scary.
Then September rolls around. There is one guaranty for this month. That would be the millions of kids returning to school. Something not guaranteed, is snow. Mother Nature, never one to be predictable, provided a dumping of the white stuff in northern parts of BC and Alberta. My cousin shared a picture of their backyard in Edmonton on September 13.
This last example is more Darwin’s Theory of Evolution than weather patterns. Scientists have witnessed a great white shark in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia. These sharks tend to stay in the warmer waters. Could it be that the shark got lost? Took a left instead of a right? Who knows?
Looking back, I didn’t mind the dry May. The hot summer was pretty good. The snow in September? Sometimes, change is not so good.
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in BC.