Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Before You Start Celebrating the Heat

The big heat wave we had last week was scary to me--not to mention uncomfortable and downright oppressive. I can't remember ever having a heat advisory in the coastal Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley), but we had one last week. Unimaginable really. And then to go from 90+ degree weather to the 60s yesterday and the day before. Eerie.

I'm sure I'm not the only person going around saying that global warming and climate change is responsible for these extreme weather patterns. But some people, even progressives who are heat-lovers I guess, have seemed happy when I see them during these hot times. I always think that's bizarre, because these are the same folks who also do their best to turn off all the lights when they leave the house, who are energy-efficiency- ("We just bought our second Prius!") and recycling-obsessed ("Um, WHY would you need to use a dryer for your laundry? I have a clothesline right here in my pocket!"), and who generally love the Earth.

For a reality check on what these heat waves indicate for our geological future and the future of our species, here's an article from the Oakland Tribune today about the possible effects of climate change on native plants in California. I was especially struck by the fact that many of California's native plants have weathered literally thousands of years of weather fluctuations, but are now quickly losing ground (literally) because of the rapid pace of change in temperature and rainfall here.

So the next time the thermometer hits 80 degrees and you start smiling because it's beach weather now, just keep it all in perspective and keep doing all that recycling and hybrid-car-driving and carbon-footprint-reducing behavior. It might just help balance things out a little bit.

1 comment:

PeonInChief said...

What's interesting about the weather pattern is not just that it's getting warmer, but that the weather is becoming more erratic. The Bay Area is having serious heat waves (something that never happened before the 1990s, btw), but then also long periods of foggy weather, as well.