We sure are having a nice spring here in Ohio … oh, wait, it’s still December. According to the calendar, it’s not even winter yet. We seemed to have missed something.
Last year on Dec. 10 the high temperature was 37 and the low was 29. This year, it was 55 and 47. It feels pretty odd to be riding my bike to work in December.
Maybe I should get used to it. Maybe this is part of a trend – you know, the whole global warming thing. Some of the old rules for Ohio about when to plant flowers and when to put the mower away and all those other vital things have changed over the past few years.
This has caused me to wonder about the effects of climate change. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before – take a trip to modern Iraq, which used to be Mesopotamia, the garden spot of the universe. It’s not so inviting anymore.
Then there are the ice ages. Talk about climate change!
The current trend is not ice. The Earth is heating up. Exactly what this means is up for debate. If you live on an island that is two feet above sea level, the prognosis is not good – all that melting ice is supposed to raise the sea level, which could make your back yard an aquarium.
If you live in California or the American Southwest, you may be facing hotter and dryer weather, which means all those people who moved there over the last century might start thinking about moving back out.
The brainiacs at NASA say warmer temperatures could mean more severe storms. That’s not good news for anyone.
On the other hand, as I lounge around outside here in Ohio in December, I can’t help but wonder … there probably are places that will benefit from a change in climate.
Take Ohio, for instance. For years people have been moving out, looking for better weather and better jobs. But if things keep going the way they have been, pretty soon people will be coming north to vacation in Ohio and escape the overheated South and West. Ohio has plenty of water and while we are a little short on things like mountains and oceans, there are a lot of interesting things here.
For years it has worked like this: people in Florida wonder why anyone would stay in Tennessee for winter; people in Tennessee wonder why anyone would stay in Ohio for the winter; people in Ohio wonder why anyone would stay in Minnesota for the winter; people in Minnesota wonder about those people in Canada; and people in Canada are pretty much at the end of the road.
But maybe not for long. If the globe keeps warming up, the new hot spot could very well be the Arctic Circle. A lot of ice already has melted up there, creating new opportunities for travel and development. The Russians already are working hard to prepare for a time when that part of the world will become the modern equivalent of the gold rush. Countries around the top of the globe are arguing about who owns what and what will happen when more ice recedes.
I’m thinking that all you people in Phoenix and Houston better enjoy it now. Someday, you could all be considering moving to Spitsbergen or Nome.
That is, of course, assuming the human race doesn’t wipe itself out in the meantime, which is always a possibility.
I don’t expect a massive human migration will happen anytime soon. Mesopotamia, after all, didn’t turn into a desert overnight. The glaciers took thousands or millions of years (no one was really counting at the time) to inch across the landscape and then inch back up. I would hope that we would learn from the past, and that when more human activity takes place in the great North, we will avoid destroying the environment, killing off other species and generally messing things up in order to make a few bucks. Somehow, I’m not all that confident that will happen.
The good news is that here in Ohio we already did all of that stuff and for the most part are working to fix those mistakes. We’ve cut back the pollution, cleaned up Lake Erie, managed to save the few trees we didn’t cut down the first time around and even have made it possible for some forms of wildlife that at one time were virtually extinct here to come back. People elsewhere have been making fun of the “Rust Belt” for years. A century from now, that might all be changed.
In the meantime, enjoy the weather while you can. And if you’re in Ohio in December, don’t forget your sunscreen.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]