Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Heat Wave

Well, it's summer, so no one should be surprised when the three H's raise their seasonal tri-partite heads. Yesterday, one hears, temperatures were in the 90's from one coast to the other. Today is the third in a row of 90+ degree weather here in Greentown, and more are forecast in the days to come.

Time was, your scribe remembers, when a day in the 90's was a pretty unusual occurrence. We might get one or two in a summer. But four and five in a row? Seems as though every recent summer has featured one or more of these unspeakable stretches, thereby hinting that they are now the norm, not the exception.

So are we to conclude that global warming is a reality, not a myth? Your scribe, though no climatologist, is beginning to find that the empirical evidence - the kind he understands best - is becoming overwhelming. The age-old glaciers he visited as a teenager in Europe have retreated miles up their valleys. Alpine ski seasons have become truncated to the point of non-existence. Record-breaking heat waves have hit Europe. The snows of Kilamanjaro...er, are there any left?

In one of his Narnia stories, C. S. Lewis describes the dead world of Charn, in which the heat of an aging sun has dried everything to dust. But that process, in Lewis' version, takes many generations. Your scribe is beginning to think that he has seen more climatological change in his relatively short lifetime than any ten generations previous have seen.

And that's scary. Consider the changes of the past few decades, dear reader, and extrapolate them into the next few. Will the so-called "balance of nature" continue to swing further out of whack, or will the pendulum start to return towards the center? And if so - either "so" - why? Discuss in an essay of 500 words or more, drawing on your own personal observations and experience.

Meanwhile, the SUVs continue to clog the streets of Town, air-conditioning cranked to the max, and some of the chain stores on Greenwich Avenue leave their doors wide open to entice shoppers into the cooler air inside...while allowing untold KwHs of wasted energy to escape to the superheated sidewalks.

Let it never be said, fellow citizens, that our Town did not play its part in the climatological changes of the 21st century.


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