a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

My twin sister lives near Lake Tahoe and she called the other day to tell me the first snow had come early this year – she was standing in the canyon, looking up at it just then. We were silent for a moment, both of us, I’m certain, thinking wistfully of the long, beautifully snow-covered Winters of our childhood in Minnesota. Those days seem far away – not by measure of years, but by the measure of lacking snow. Just as we now reveled in an October snowfall, we were simultaneously sobered by the fact that this was not an indication of “business as usual” in terms of nature. As temperatures rise, annual snowfall throughout the world have been decreasing rapidly over decades. Winter sports may soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, in this culture, denial runs deep. Ski resorts have been making supplemental snow for dry periods for a long time and I’m sure they’ll continue to fill the air with CO2 emissions via snowmakers for a long time yet. But, making your own snow at home? Now I know just how spoiled we have become and that nature can’t seem to speak to us loudly enough.

Do you know about this? When Winter is a no-show, instead of worrying about it, we just rub our hands together like mad scientists and find yet another non-sustainable way to get what we want. Much to my surprise and dismay, I’ve discovered that companies in the U.S. have been selling home snowmakers since 2000 and sales “have hit every state except Hawaii” say the owners of Snow At Home. (Sorry, if you want a link to this, you’re gonna have to find it yourself.) I guess our SUVs, luxury boats, motor homes and swimming pools aren’t enough. We gotta have it – all.

I don’t know…just how long can we continue to have our planet and eat it, too?

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