Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Snow New Hampshire

Yesterday I was out cutting wood with my new electric chain saw when we got the first snow. The black clouds whipped overhead and the cover blew off the chicken house and the flurry drove down from that middle distance in the northwest sky.
The chain saw was working well, just as well as the gas-powered saws which have bedeviled me through the years. The guys at the saw shop always blame the ethanol in the gasoline. I finally decided to try an electric chain saw and so far so good. It runs quietly, dependably, and I can cut it off and rearrange the logs without fear that it will flood when I go to crank it up again. Internal combustion is on the way out, I hope, and not a moment too soon.
Last night the lights were on at the Peak. They have been for about a week; with cold enough nights to power up the snow-blowing guns, they've been busy, running the shifts of groomers from dusk to dawn. It looks like winter is here. What would the ski resorts do without snow-making? They are increasingly reliant on it to get in a full season of skiing. Life goes on, and it is good, without a doubt.
But anybody that has any doubts about the seriousness of the global warming threat ahead of our children should read the latest NY Times story on the melting of the Arctic. It is an even-handed, sober, scientific appraisal of the adaptations we will have to make to sea levels rising by the end of this century. Goodbye coastlines, in all probability. Futuristic scare tactics on the part of evil scientists intent on illicit fund-raising it is not. A reality check and a sober reminder of how derelict we have been, is what it is. Meanwhile, Obama is playing hoops. Good for him. Nero had a fiddle. We can always build seawalls around Manhattan to protect Wall Street and on the outer banks of the Chesapeake Delta to save that White House basketball court, but what about Bangladesh and Cairo and Indonesia? Those people will be relocating to a shelter near you Jim Boehner, and you, Sarah Palin, won't be seeing Russia from your kitchen because it's going to be under water.
Someone should declare this coming year, 2011, the year of climate change awareness. Maybe I will. People in Washington will be too busy doing the important things, like making sure they win reelection in two years, never mind the long view. That democracy thing, the free market? Doesn't seem to be working for us, I'm afraid. I love what George Carlin used to say about choices. We have two thousand brands of interchangeable toilet paper, but politics? We'll be looking and listening to Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dee, with only a short time to turn things around and get carbon in the atmosphere down to manageable levels.  On all fronts we could use some immediate action, from the cars we drive to the homes we build and live in to the electricity we rely on to run civilization. We'll be lucky if we get anything but more hot air from our leaders in the foreseeable future.
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