Archive for August, 2010

Can I Blame this Blazing Summer on Global Warming?

Summer is frequently a disappointment.  My husband would be ashamed at my view-point, but I actually have an interesting perspective.  We all have great anticipation for the summer season.  I think that it is directly related to having the summer off from school all those years.  There is still an excitement as summer approaches.  Long days, shorts, flip-flops, vacations…endless possibilities of a great summer.  We wait anxiously for the weather to get warm.  If we are lucky, we enjoy a lovely spring of flowers blooming, grass turning green and lengthening days.  We keep our windows open and smell the fresh air pouring into our houses.  At some point, we wake up, and it is hot.  The heat is so strong that we turn on our air conditioning to be comfortable.  Before you know it, it gets even hotter out.  It is so hot that it isn’t even enjoyable to be outside.  You wake up, hop in the car to drive to work and need to put the a/c on because it’s 80 and humid at 7:30am.  You spend all day in a climate-controlled building all to be overwhelmed by the building of heat during the day when you leave the office.  You hurry to your car and crank the a/c while you start to perspire.  Finally, you start to cool down only to arrive home, exit your car and enter you nicely cooled, air-conditioned house.  You might venture outside for a few minutes to throw your Frisbee to your dog a couple of times only to head back inside to sigh and enjoy the coolness of your house.  

As adults, we spend little time outside during the summer.   Children are a different story.  You practically have to drag them in from the sweltering heat and force them to drink some water.  The heat has been so significant this summer that my family has practically given up our nightly walks.  I get more exercise in the spring and fall then the summer.  July was the 3rd hottest month on record in Southeastern PA.  It would have tied for the hottest month except we got a break in the heat the last 3 days.  It was only in the high 80’s.   Adding to this excessive heat has been the lack of rain.  Many of our plants are droopy and leaves are turning brown.  We water, but it is never enough.  This summer has been brutal with barely a break in 90 degree temps and oppressive humidity.

I have found myself wondering if this summer is hotter than last summer.  I remember being in college and spending a summer in my college apartment.  We didn’t have a/c.  I didn’t even have a/c in my car.  I remember being hot but still functional.  I don’t think that I could survive a summer like this without a/c.  I feel sorry for those who don’t have this luxury.  Could I tolerate it back then because I was younger?  Or was it really not as hot out? 

Whether you believe in it or not, everyone has heard of global warming.  I believe that it exists.  Melting polar ice is enough to convince me.  Every time I see pictures of those stranded, starving polar bears I worry about the future of our planet.  I do wonder what the real cause of global warming is and suspect that it is a lengthy combination of man-made and natural effects.  Last night, we watched that Sandra Bullock movie All About Steve.  She played a character that is a walking Encyclopedia.  One “fact” she stated was that during the time of aerosol cans, more damage was done to the ozone layer from the methane produced by cows than those cans.  Whether that’s true or not, it’s still an interesting thought.  How much are we to blame for global warming vs nature?  My gut says that we are more to blame just by looking at the number of SUVs on the road.   What scares me the most is that most people just don’t care.  They look at the polar bears and feel sad too but are not willing to look at themselves or their lifestyles and acknowledge how they have contributed to the problem.  Instead they turn off the tv, hop in their SUVs, drive a mile to their nearest WaWa to buy a soda and then drive home.