Just under two weeks ago, the temperature in Boston climbed to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. From D.C. to Chicago, cities around the country experienced a string of record breaking summery days, likely registering as some of the warmest days February has ever seen. Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction, spring seemed to have arrived just as fast as the groundhog scurried from his shadow.
Around campus, each dorm window was slightly ajar. Students roamed and conversed outside without jackets, professors graciously took advantage of the warmth and held class outside. Campus was teeming with life. My daily runs were liberated from the conveyor belt that is the Plex treadmill, and I was free to jog around Chestnut Hill as I pleased. The pleasant weather arrived just in time to prepare students for a now appropriately named spring break. The high temperatures were a godsend, especially to those whose spirits were lifted a few weeks ahead of schedule.
When we returned from break, winter reared its head again, burying us in snow. If meteorological predictions pan out, Winter Storm Stella could go down as one of the biggest snowstorms in Boston’s history. Despite the record breaking spring temperatures, this winter will turn out to be snowier than usual.
The 12 to 18 inches of sleet and snow appear to satisfy the student body nearly as much as a 70 degree forecast did just a few weeks ago. With classes cancelled and the entire university completely closed, we are free to sleep until noon and put off another day’s work. Or we can wake up at the first flake’s fall, steal trays from the dining hall, and sled down any sloped surface we can find on campus. With a day free from responsibility, spirits are equally as high and possibilities are seemingly endless.
While enjoying the sun’s rays, then watching the snow build up outside your window just a week later, it is difficult to ignore the underlying concerns that come from seasonal abnormalities. The detrimental effects of these weather patterns and the origin of such meteorological discourse fall second to the enjoyment they bring.
Whether current political media chooses to address them or not, these extreme weather conditions are a clear manifestation of a human induced climate change. Some unpredictable weather temperaments are the nature of our environment. However, weather patterns that fall to the extremes are not only the result of a damaged atmosphere, but they also put forth serious challenges in regulating weather-related affairs that concern the economy and public health.
Therefore, we might ask ourselves: Is it okay to enjoy the warm winters and spring snow days induced by climate change?
Although a snow day in March is nothing to complain about, the destined continuation of climate change should be a motivating factor to persistently pursue a solution. The unsettling feeling that comes with a 70 degree day in February or a record breaking snowfall in March should motivate us all to change in how we interact with our environment. Redirect the energy that develops in these instances toward activism. Research methods to reduce your carbon footprint or look to educate others about climate change and its possible solutions.
By all means soak up the sun in the midst of a chilly winter and admire the snowflakes as they fall in mid-March air. But don’t forget what it all means. Voice a concern for the future of our environment in times of seasonal abnormality.