What a Snowstorm Taught Me About Climate Change

Last night I was kept awake by an unrelenting snowstorm. The wind was howling – and I know “howling” is a cliche word to describe wind, but it honestly was – and pellets of freezing rain were smacking against my windows. Though I was snuggled in my bed, I shivered when I let my attention drift to the sounds of the storm.

I’ve always loved storms, and as I lay awake last night I realized one of the reasons why I love them so much. Storms arrive, as predicted by the weather channel yet unexpected nonetheless, and they reign (pun not intended, haha!) It doesn’t matter if the severe weather of a storm completely ruins your plans; the clouds don’t care. Storms are nature’s way of telling humans that we don’t own the world – a fact some people are prone to forgetting.

It’s easy to look at the way the world turned out and say that the human race rules Earth. We were – and are – so selfish, cutting down entire forests to build housing developments and creating cities on animal’s habitats; not to mention putting animals on display in cages and killing them by the millions sometimes in the name of fur, ivory, or cartilage but in the underlying name of greed. We pump dangerous gases into the air and dump our garbage into the ocean, and perhaps worst of all, we do all of these things without worrying about the consequences; and we’re quick to deny that we’re doing anything wrong at all.

Last spring, word came out that members of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection state agency were banned from using the phrases “global warming”, “climate change”, and “sustainability” in their communications. I happened to be on vacation in Florida at the time. I stepped out of the air conditioned hotel lobby and into the blistering heat I turned to my dad, who had told me about the banned phrases at breakfast that day, and said, “Whoever made that rule is out of their mind.”

I don’t understand how someone, much less a group of people, can be so wilfully ignorant about the negative effects of Earth’s changing climate – especially considering that, as this article points out, Florida is one of the most susceptible areas to climate change, owing in part to rising sea levels.

There was the United Nations Climate Change Conference earlier this month in Paris. There are documentaries, activists, and articles which bring a greater understanding of climate change.  There is hope. But there are also people in denial – and there is also a ticking clock, not only for the human race, but for the Earth itself.

When the sky roars and ice and snow plummet to the ground, nature reminds us that it was here first: and it will be here long after we’re gone.

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