Having grown up in a tropical landscape, and after having lived in Southern California, I knew well that I had no skills to live and work through snow and ice. Rains I could manage. Cold I could bundle against and turn the heater on. But snow and ice I couldn't.
The responses were unanimous. Rarely ever it snows, and even then it is just a dusting that quickly melts away.
I felt reassured.
Turns out that they were all wrong.
Not that they lied. Times they are a changin. The climate ain't what it was.
Now, every winter we have come to expect a snow dump. And then the snow freezing over. Life stalls. We can't do anything because the natural world and the infrastructure do not have a place for snow and ice. Trees tumble. On homes. They drag down power lines. Roads become treacherous.
Climate change is the greatest threat ever.
Yes, the climate has changed before--naturally. This time it is different--we humans have caused it. In any case, we need to remember this from history:
Many historical events have happened against a backdrop of natural climate change. Drought in the steppes east of Hungary pushed marauding Huns west and toppled the Roman empire. Volcanic activity suppressed crop yields in pre-revolutionary France, leading hungry, desperate peasants to take drastic action.But, it is not the climate change by itself:
But climate is almost never the only factor in human history. The Roman empire was overextended and tenuous, torn apart as much by infighting and poor governance as outside enemies. The French underclass starved under the policies imposed by the overclass. ...The human-environment relationship will dramatically change, leading to many acts of desperation.
the adversity brought by climate change caused societies to break apart, magnified pre-existing divisions, and made desperate people easy prey for dangerous people.
The climate crisis has already sparked an exodus from Central America to the US. We are perhaps even downplaying the role of climate change this crisis. This is merely one of the contemporary responses to the climate change underway. A humanitarian challenge that the current administration, which wears the blinders of racism and climate denialism, does not even want to understand.
I can't do anything about those big problems. Nor can I stop the snow and ice here in the valley.