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December 20, 2006

Stormy Weather Ahead

We're sitting here tonight waiting for yet another major storm to hit the coast. According to the local news, we normally see about 2 major storms in an entire winter, but so far this year we've had 9, and it's not even the new year yet.
I have never seen such devastation to the city's trees. The snow storm we had almost a month ago did many of them in due to the sheer weight of the snow, with major limbs or whole trees crashing to the ground.
Last Friday we experienced another devastating storm with hurricane-force winds that took down thousands more trees within Vancouver alone. Stanley park, our city's jewel known for its stands of beautiful old cedars and hemlocks, was severely damaged, with an estimated 3, 000 trees down in the park. Logging crews are being brought in to handle the clean up, which could take up to a year, and it will take generations for the forest to return to its previous state.
The thing that really gets me is that people only seem to be concerned about the inconvenience of having no power, or having to boil their water, and are ignoring the fact that our weather has gone completely berserk this year. Jim over at Earth Home Garden has been noticing similar disturbing trends with his local weather in California. Ours certainly isn't any warmer than it normally is this time of year, but it's intensely wet and windy, which is exactly what scientists are predicting for this area in the wake of climate change (we've had at least one wind or rain warning a week for the last couple of months).
Granted, weather sometimes does strange things, and every little blip can't be blamed on global warming. But when these things start happening with increasing frequency, we should probably sit up and pay attention.
To learn more about global warming and our effect on it, check out some of the free online videos that I posted here.
What scares me is the prospect that most of North America thinks like this guy does (this is from a comment that someone wrote in response to that post):

That's some list of movies you have there. Is there any you can recommend that doesn't predict the end of the world. Life must really suck up there in the land of NOTHING!. Please keep doing exactly what your doing to keep planet Earth safe so the rest of us can enjoy our lives, and our SUV's. Oh and by the way, If you really like Al Gore you're welcome to take him. In-spite of what think, most Americans consider Gore to be an absolute crackpot who wouldn't be qualified for a job sweeping floors at a Home Depot if he had to actually go out and make it in the real world like the rest of us.

My only hope is that having to go without power and water this winter will make people more aware of how precious they are, and remind them that there's not an endless supply of the things most of us take for granted.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

6 comments:

Phelan said...

I find that people that jump like that, usually feel guilty about something.

The weather here has been typical. The real winter doesn't start until next month.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

I am so sorry about Stanley Park. I have been there and it is (was?) beautiful. Really really beautiful. We too are having very very odd weather. Dry dry dry. Not enough rain last winter and not enough rain this winter. No rain during the summer and no hurricanes in the gulf to give us some moisture (sorry those of you who live near the coast but that is how we get some of our rain for the year). We have been feeding our animals hay since August (versus the beginning of December usually). There will always be doubters---but its one of those political things: they can doubt all they want, we just need more believers to make policy. Maybe when all those older baby boomers retire and some of the younger (believing) generation starts making policy? If we aren't blown away in the drought or washed away in the floods first.
By the way---the election was stolen from Gore----it's not that nobody liked him!

Cheryl said...

Phelan - I think you're probably right. The comment was just odd.
I'm glad the weather is normal where you are. Weren't you having 30 degree temperature swings awhile ago?

Monica - Thanks, it's sad to see the park in tatters. How long ago were you here?
It must be hard having to deal with so little water when you've got animals.
Our current government is a nightmare as far as environmental policy (and the prime minister is relatively young, but he's from oil country).
I hope something starts changing soon!

Wendy said...

Well, thankfully, "that guy" doesn't speak for all of us Americans, and some of us ... many of us ... are just as concerned about the environmental changes we've been observing.

Here in Maine, we've had above normal temps for most of the "winter". I can count the number of hard frosts we've had so far this year with the first not occuring until sometime in November. Usually, we're closing up our gardens by the end of September, but my friend says her broccoli plant was producing until the end of October. Very unusual for this area.

I have several cold weather plants protected only by plastic that are still growing really well. It got too hot under the plastic for the peas, and they died.

This year, due to a short, relatively mild winter last year, both the maple syrup industry and the apple production industry suffered ... and I had a banner year for peaches ... in MAINE! Hmmm?

Carla said...

Wow! I was noticing weather changes when I lived in Vancouver, but it sounds really nuts this year. I'm in Switzerland right now and can't tell you what is typical...but the locals are telling me that it's really odd that the whole of Switzerland has had almost no snow as of yet. It's certainly not looking to be a promising season for the boarders and skiers here.

Chelee said...

We live in Washington State and let me tell you, this has been one crazy year for weather. In the states we never heard a thing about our neighbors to the north and how they faired during the horrible storm. I love Stanley park. I'm very sad to hear of so much devastation.

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