Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: climate

False alarm?

mountain-1724808_640

The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consultafft, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees and 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 metres showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no whtefish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encounterred in the old seal fishing grounds.

-The Washington Post, November 2, 1922

Yes dear reader, that date is correct. This is a report of conditions in the eastern Arctic 96 years ago. The warming spell began in 1918 and continued for some years before returning to normal, whatever normal is. Haven’t climatic conditions always been abnormal? Normal is an average, not an enduring condition.

Advertisements

Moving on, or pressing on

I really thought that spring would be here in just a day or two. The sun shone warmly on Saturday, the few patches of snow left were becoming smaller and smaller, we heard of birds coming back to a place just a few hours south of us.

Alas, it was but a dream. We awoke Sunday to a thick covering of fresh snow and rapidly cooling temperatures. Today the wind is blowing fiercely, cleaning the snow from open places and packing it into firm drifts in other places. The forecast doesn’t offer any hope of warmer weather until the 21st when spring officially begins.

No wonder the Romans named this month after Mars, their god of war. Many of the worst blizzards I have experienced arrived without warning during this month.

Wouldn’t it be better to live in a part of the world that never has winter? That sounds like a good idea on days like today. But – I have visited Arkansas and Mississippi at the end of March, when the weather was beautiful and I don’t know how I could survive a summer in those places. Besides, winter provides us with an all natural, ecologically safe barrier to things like fire ants, brown recluse spiders, Burmese pythons and other such creatures. Tornado season here is much shorter and less destructive.

I could go on, but you get the picture. I am accustomed to the hazards of living in this climate and know how to cope with the unpleasant aspects of it. If I moved somewhere else to avoid those issues, would I know how to cope with unfamiliar and unexpected aspects of the new locale?

A Saskatchewan politician visiting in British Columbia once said “A lot of Saskatchewan people move to B.C. because of the climate. Most of them move back because of the weather.” My father-in-law was one. He got so depressed by week after week of clouds, rain, and no sunshine in B.C. that he came back to Saskatchewan.

I think that applies to other aspects of our life. Someone grows frustrated in his job, his marriage, his church, the place he lives, and thinks a change will make things better. (I used the masculine pronouns because that is what I am and what I am most familiar with, not to imply that persons on the feminine side may not have the same temptations.) Most often the result is not what was anticipated.

Often a person will explain the change in one of these relationships by his need to get away from persons who are causing him trouble. Oddly enough, the same kind of persons, causing the same problems, are usually found in the next job, church, town, or marriage. And the next one after that.

If we take an honest look at ourselves, we are apt to find we have a full time job looking after the troubles caused by our own attitudes and actions. If we occupy ourselves with that, we will usually be quite content to stay where we are.

Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to move on, other than discontent with the people we have to do with. My wife and I tried out a number of churches years ago. We met a lot of fine people, but not the spiritual fellowship that we longed for. We have belonged to the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite for 37 years now. That doesn’t mean we have found nicer people, or better people, it just means that we are content that we are where God wants us to be.

Here in the Swanson congregation we have been trying for over a year to decide what to do about our aging church building. Such a situation provides endless possibilities for conflict. But it also creates possibilities for confession and apology when attitudes and words have been uncharitable. It feels like this process is drawing us closer together.

The first day of winter

Today is the winter solstice, the day when winter officially begins.  In real life, we’ve had a month of winter here already, with far too many days when the temperature went down to -30°  Celsius at night and only went up by 5 or 10 degrees in the daytime.

Our two youngest cats insist on going out whenever they see the sun shining brightly outside.  Pookie, the youngest, soon comes in and seems thankful for a warm home.  Angus stays out longer but doesn’t venture off the back step into the snow.  When he comes in, he begins to wail in an accusing tone: “Who stole my summer?  What did you guys do with the green grass, the birds and all the other living things?”

Panda, the oldest, remains curled up in a chair.  Elle a déjà vu neiger.  This is French for she has seen it snow before, which is the French equivalent of she wasn’t born yesterday.

I was born in winter time, which means I am now entering my 72nd winter.  I have seen all kinds and it seems like lately we are getting back to the kind of long winters I knew as a boy.

But there are still “experts” telling us that the world is getting warmer and we need to take drastic measures to avoid an apocalypse.  My experience, and the reading of history, convinces me that there is no such thing as normal weather.  What we call normal is only the average of the extremes.

It seems foolish to take a few years weather data and extrapolate  a long term trend from it, especially when more recent data does not support the original predictions.  I’m afraid the main expertise of the “experts” is in sowing panic.

I’m with Panda, there’s no point getting excited about the weather.  But maybe I’m a little like Angus, too — it does make a good topic of conversation.

 

%d bloggers like this: