It was so unusual I can still clearly picture my Evanston St. Nick’s compatriots and I enjoying a pickup baseball game at Ridge and Monroe on a 78-degree February 1971 day. I remember that 1966 69-degree Evanston Thanksgiving and the 1982 64-degree Rogers Park Christmas day, too.
Fast forward to 1997, and for two February days, it was warmer in Geneva, Illinois, than it was at our Sanibel Island, Florida, vacation rental house!
But the commonality between every one of those fascinating meteorological anomalies is they were short-lived impending or midwinter phenomena. They solely served as a moral boosting and story-telling proposition. But this unprecedented weeklong stretch of early November high 70-degree weather isn’t as much fan as it is terrifying.
For the last four days I’ve walked the dogs in shorts at 7 a.m., and the sweatshirt was way too warm this morning. On a November 8 evening, we dined on the Batavia Swordfishes patio in shorts drinking cold sake. And despite my seemingly incontrovertible belief that we’d surely sloughed off those summer specific allergies, I’ve suddenly had to hit the inhalers far too often for this time of year.
Coming from someone who’s spent every nanosecond of their existence in the Chicago area, it would be beyond accurate to say this late autumnal weather just ain’t right!
Thankfully, it occurred before the plants, bushes and trees had fully gone dormant, so they’ll suffer no long-term effect. But had this persistent early summer weather pattern occurred just two weeks later, our trees and bushes would’ve been tricked into thinking it’s spring and, despite their evolutionary defenses, it would not be a good thing.
If two of these unseasonable weather weeks hit between November and January going forward, or we get a week of sub-freezing temperatures in late May, either of which seem entirely possible these days, the ecological consequences would be dire.
And the meteorological fear I’m feeling has nothing to do with me because I won’t be around to see the worst of it. It’s that the last thing I want to leave my sons is an irretrievably altered planet where climate-base famine upheaval makes the 2020 social unrest look like a walk in the park.
It’s not terribly difficult to understand how issues like climate change and the coronavirus have become the hottest of those partisan political potatoes, but what I don’t get is how conservatives can so easily forget that word is derived from “to conserve.”
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say these current climate shifts are nothing more than the result of one or more overarching planetary weather cycles. But when you consider the importance of leaving our children a workable ecological legacy, wouldn’t it behoove us rein in those warming possibilities regardless of whether we believe climate change is real?
I may not be the biggest Biden fan, but I’m thrilled that putting America back on the Paris Climate Accord track will be one of his first priorities.
Again, regardless of what your political belief system, fossil fuels are a finite proposition, and simply speaking from a profit point of view, do we really want to let the Chinese take the lead in global solar energy while we bicker about a possibility that appears to be more self-evident every month?
I know this isn’t the best time to ask the left and right to come together on, well, anything! But Americans have accomplished and can accomplish the impossible whenever we come together and set our collective minds on a worthy goal. I still remember the thrill of making it to the Moon “before the decade was out.” And if the long-term welfare of our sons and daughters isn’t that unifying issue, then perhaps climate change is the least of our worries.
This weather just ain’t right!