Last night, not five feet inside the front door, her coat flecked with snow, my usually imperturbable wife exclaimed, "They're predicting eight inches!" Elahna stamped her black boots on the grubby little throw rug that I've been meaning to replace, but it's not that bad. "Three to eight inches," I returned, "and who's 'they'?" She replied, "The people in the radio." Ah, the Radio People. The Acu-Weather Doppler-Radar Know-It-Alls, the Storm-Team-Seven Super Alarmists. Probably the same people who decided to color the pages on my Weather Channel App in Run-to-the-Root Cellar-Red just because a few flurries are floating down. (The Weather Channel App, by the way, boasts that it's "Powered by Watson," the smarty-pants computer who beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy by cheating the answer buzz-in protocol. Just saying.) Yes, the same panicky folks who cowed officials in our town to cancel school today over said fluffy three-to-eight inches. A neighbor walking his dog claims it's because of the buses, somehow the buses don't like snow. His dog, the beautiful Saphira, sat happily in a little snow drift as we codgers chatted about the old days when we walked to school in blizzards, uphill both ways.
Viscerally, I get annoyed at the media hysteria over normal weather. I actually like the varieties of New England weather, snow storms and hot summer days alike. There's nothing like a big-whopper wind nudging leaves off a tree in autumn or a cleansing, springtime thunderstorm sending gushers of water down our slanted street. I sit on my porch, watch it unfurl. And if you don't like our seasonal variations, well, that's just another reason to move to Florida, isn't it? Goodbye, and don't let the door hit you on the...on the other hand, from the perspective of a climate-change agonizer, maybe all this weather agitation stoked by media outlets hungry for ratings and clicks isn't such a bad thing after all.
Climate change is putting extreme weather events on steroids. Hurricanes are bigger, rainstorms deliver more rain, heat waves spike higher and for longer duration. So maybe -- stick with me here -- if the weather-climate change connection becomes cemented in people's minds, and then folks incorrectly and hysterically start blaming normal weather events (a bit of snow, for instance) on climate change, well, that might raise public awareness of climate change's many threats. I mean, good things can happen for stupid reasons, right? Also, it seems like payback for that politician from Oklahoma who stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate brandishing a snowball as evidence of the pernicious conspiracy that is climate change.
Just a thought. That's it for today. Now I'm gonna shut this computer down, bundle up and go outside to take a walk in the soft, sweetly falling three-to-eight inches of snow.
Hal LaCroix has been a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, PR professional, book author, environmental advocate and college instructor, among other endeavors. He lives in Somerville, Mass. with his wife Elahna.