Monday, December 10, 2012

Climate Change: Old Man Winter, Where Are You?

Climate Change: Old Man Winter, Where Are You?

By Margaret Curtis, PhD

Ever since I returned to Western New York, the shock has hit me: The snow is gone!

Climate change is not a theory. If the snow can go, where do we go, Earthlings?

After a childhood spent climbing mountains of snow—the famous lake effect snow south of Buffalo—I didn’t conceive of this place without the weather which defined it.

Now an article in Slate Magazine urges scientists to get aboard the Climate Change Movement before Earth becomes unrecognizable, uninhabitable, and horrid beyond words.

This articleScientists Ask Blunt Question on Everyone’s Mind

Why Earth and atmospheric scientists are swearing up a storm and getting arrested.” --breaks the bounds of propriety as it frames the essential question in obscenities.

That phrasing reveals a common quirk in modern grammar. It employs the passive voice, as if the snow had been murdered by unknown parties—like visible bodies left beside the road.

But that usage belies the rant of Yann Martel in Beatrice and Virgil, an insightful novel reviewed recently in this blog. Two-thirds of Earth’s animals have disappeared.

This catastrophe did not fall upon the Earth like an asteroid. It did not result from a shoot-out with aliens.

Who did this—who? Earthlings did it to themselves. They are the aliens to their own existence. They disappeared the animals. They disappeared the snow. Now, what comes next?

Mayan calendar enthusiasts await the End of the World on 122112. Slate’s article makes clear: scientists are now verging on activism. Are they supposed to report the missing forever?

America’s great playwright Arthur Miller predicted that what we cannot imagine will get us in his ironic masterpiece Incident at Vichy. There, Nazis disappeared the Jews, uncounted by neighbors.

It is time to count the snowflakes. It is time to count the birds circling in the skies, searching for Old Man Winter. Is he off somewhere on vacation with his bride, The Snow Queen?

Those who never saw the mountains of snow here may wonder: Have they gone the way of mountains in West Virginia, decapitated by mining?

Does the wonder of Nature go with them? All those spirits whistling in the dark as they whooshed upon us from Canada—are they kidnap victims now, begging for release?

Memo To Whom It May Concern: I don’t care what you plan to do with the snow. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to those who can remember a White Christmas

which, once upon a time, lasted for six months in Western New York, clear from Halloween to Easter. It doesn’t take scientists to recognize the obvious. It takes memory and conscience. 

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