Sunday, March 05, 2006

Has Winter Thrown in the Towel?

Signs of spring are all around. Ice is thawing. Sun is shining. My dog is basking in it. Trees are emitting pheromones. I can almost smell it. The Rite of Spring is an appropriate song to play in my head. Occasionally, it will make a transition into Four Seasons with one particular season in mind.

Soon I'll be able to bike safely again and jog and feel the happy rays of Helios.

The problem with all this warm weather is that it's not supposed to be this warm. In terms of national perhaps global weather, it stays warmer longer. The cold weather doesn't kill off the Mountain Pine Beetle like it used to. These beetles can emit a fungus that strangles off the trees water supply. As a result, Canadian pine trees have been dying faster than the lumberjacks can even process them! The brown trees are the dead ones. If you saw Brokeback Mountain, they hid them well but you might have seen some rusty brown trees like these because it was shot in Alberta, where the epidemic is taking place (as well as British Columbia).

There are of course some benefits from natural disasters. Economists will always look at the opportunities in catastrophes. Since the ice caps have been melting shippers are hopeful that the Northwest passage will open up as a commercially plausible route. While many explorers have tried it in the past, they've gotten stuck between an iceberg and a hard place. Now that temperatures are rising, the route is accessible for longer periods of the year. The route has been taken advantage of in the past by foreign ships trying to sneak through. With Stephen Harper as prime minister, maybe we'll get tough and build up our navy.

This last week Paul McCartney and wife Heather came to protest the seal hunts that go on out in Newfoundland. If it was colder they might have taken a sled, but instead, they took a helicopter. If Canada has one sensational animal scandal, the seal hunts are it. Every year I hear about them. However, the cute little seal pup that they are posing with WON'T die (US Humane Society was ill-informed). Killing seal pups has been illegal since 1987. Only the ones who are eight weeks or more who's coat has turned black get clubbed and gouged with boat-hooks until their blood comes spraying out.

"I am the eggman. I am the walrus. Goo-goo-ga-chube!" Maybe Paul is a seal too.

Somehow, sitting here in my comfortable home eating pasturized ice-cream, there doesn't seem to be anything sacred about bludgeoning an animal to death, especially if it's done for money and not survival. It certainly isn't cute. However, I can't really condemn an Inuit for hunting seals. It's not like they can just choose to go vegan. Plus, eating seal blubber is a great way to keep warm, to make candles, and to have on hand for celebrations. So if you feel sad about seal genocide, light a candle?

The environment is precious, and we all have varying sense of protectiveness towards it. I think the important thing about engaging the environment is to appreciate what we have left of it. I can't wait for patios to open up and to be able to sit out on a lawn chair reading a good tome. Even though the winter seemed long, it was very mild. The bitter winds that there were will help me appreciate the summer. In the meantime, I'm ready for spring.

Filed under Environment


Blogger Lavinia said...

Its the first cold snap of Autumn here. Can I visit you until my Summer? I can't stand the cold.

Wow, what a cute dog. Is he/she yours? Whats it called?

11:55 p.m.  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

think that i mentioned this before but what the heck. i have two cousins, both of whom live in quebec, now when we compare notes on our winters we in the uk are left standing. you guys get REAL snow. we (if wwere lucky) get a sprinkle. again you have some excellent photos. love the dog and also the trees. magnificent!

8:15 a.m.  
Blogger Pincushion said...

Hi! Just waltzed in from CJ's! Your comment there really made me want to read your stuff..and I am not disapppointed! :)
Was just cribbing about the cold in London, but I guess theres worse! So enjoy your sunshine and pass me some too :))

12:06 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gorgeous pics.

i can't wait for spring...there's a LOT more snow here for some reason...odd.

cute cute.

12:09 p.m.  
Blogger Maddy said...

It is gorgeous here today as well-
all the cherry blossoms are out-
as well as my hay fever!


12:52 p.m.  
Blogger Queen of Ass said...

Everything's blooming around here. It's amazing. The dogwoods are beautiful!

Seal blubber? I'm never going to think about that the same way again...

...not that I ever really thought about it anyway, but still.

3:56 p.m.  
Blogger Lorena said...

yeah, there is nothing like a change of seasons. that is why i appreciate each one. i like that it's always changing. we had a mild winter as well. yesterday it was cute because it snowed and it looked lovely and thankfully it didn't accumulate and soon spring arrives. i love the idea of sitting in a porch reading a book, wish i could do that....still i'm picturing it in my mind.

5:26 p.m.  
Blogger allister said...

Here in Australia its nearing the end of Summer. But you can never tell really cause its always hot here unless its raining on a winter day. I pine for those days.

7:43 a.m.  
Blogger Vesper said...

I wish we had some of the warmth you speak of. It's been below normal here in Vancouver for quite awhile now.

12:02 p.m.  
Blogger Frap Gurl said...

It's going to 70 down here in PA in the next few days! Our ski resort is hurting... I can feel spring as well..gotta love it thugh!

3:54 p.m.  
Blogger finnegan said...

Everyone here in Switzerland is ready for spring as well. It always seems that spring only gets serious when the clocks are changed. 2 weeks..yes!

12:27 a.m.  

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