Sitting in upstate New York at the tail end of January with no snow on the ground, it seems quite clear that this winter has been an uncharacteristically warm one.
With one of the warmest Christmases in memory, and more and more balmy winter days, we are experiencing quite an odd phenomenon.
For children who received a brand new sled for the Holiday season, or snowmobilers looking to try out their new toys, this weather must be quite disappointing, with none of the proper conditions to have their wintery fun.
To people like me, who despise the freezing weather and the usual winter practice of shoveling their car out of snow, this winter may seem like quite a blessing. I, and I am assuming many others, do not stop and question why I can continue to go on runs outside through January, and just enjoy this blessing of a winter.
There is, however, a small part of me that is curious as to the cause of this strangely mild winter, as I grew up with winters in which there were endless amounts of snow, as many layers of clothes worn as possible and painfully cold treks outside. This year, something just seems fishy.
While I do accept this as some form of a gift from Mother Nature or maybe an apology for freezing winters past, I cannot help but think that there must be some sort of scientific reason behind it all.
We have all heard of global warming, even as kids, in some science class, on some news channel or any form of social media. I am quick to admit: I am probably not as informed on the issue as I should be, beyond a basic understanding and a feeling of slight worry over the implications of it and I think this may be the case for others as well. I see articles shared on Facebook by particularly active friends, pushing for people to do something about global warming, to read charts, see the effects and make a change.
Personally, I have never been moved exceptionally by these types of efforts to spread awareness about global warming, and while I may click a link and skim an article, and possibly even have a pit in my stomach for a time after, it usually does not pass this stage, as I quickly move on to the next shared article, the next issue.
In the past, beyond these charts and statistics thrown around, the effects of global warming are fairly out of sight, out of mind. I have not personally experienced a terrible outcome or known a person who has, which is maybe why the issue takes a back seat in my mind to others, such as poverty or abuse, which I can more obviously see and feel the effects of on myself or others.
This odd winter, however, makes me wonder, just what would push me, and others, to do something about global warming.
While I am not necessarily of the belief that this weather is caused by global warming alone, I do think it’s odd that this strange weather does not cause more of an uproar and push to figure out what is going on.
We went through a brutally cold, snowy winter last year, so this weather is not quite a pattern, which makes the threat of it being a serious effect of global warming seem a little less likely.
I do wonder, however, what if this persists? If years of winters to come continue to lack snow and freezing temperatures, will that be enough to light a fire under us to address the issue?
Or will many, like me, be complacent with this as a form of a blessing, and simply toss our winter boots out and enjoy the benefits of a new, warm winter?