One of the major subjects from which a monthly columnist wants to steer away is the weather.
There are two reasons for this. First, the weather about which the monthly columnist is writing could very easily be just the opposite when the reader is reading about it. The second — and maybe the most important reason to not write about the weather — is that your editor will think (and in most cases, rightly so) that you have run out of ideas and need a respite from your monthly column.
But I, the aforementioned cautionaries notwithstanding, am going to talk about the weather.
I have been a weather watcher ever since I can remember. As a small boy I liked to lay on my back on a summer’s day and watch the layers of clouds trace by. To this day, as I play golf and have to wait for other players to play their shot, my eyes drift toward the sky and the clouds and weather overhead. I can attest to both the beauty that is always present and the danger that a storm front can bring. And I can attest to the changes that have happened over my lifetime.
This winter ranks right up there with the winters of ’77 and ’78 as being one of the worst I have witnessed. We not only have endured waves of deep snowfall, but also weeks of below-freezing and, on many days, below-zero temperatures. This winter season has qualified for a top ten ranking of all-time worst winters since these stats have been kept from back in the 19th century.
All of this dastardliness, and I have liked it. Yes me, the one who can’t wait to get out of the snow and cold and take a trip or two to warmer weather as winter moves into Northeast Ohio. But this winter was different. I realized that I am a bigger fan of weather than I thought. This winter I wanted to stay at home to experience the deep freeze and the bitingly cold air and piercingly clear night skies. Each wave of sub-zero temperatures is bracing and somehow comforting to those of us who have a warm place into which to escape.
And if you compare what we are going through this winter in Northeast Ohio with the other intense and extreme weather going on around the globe recently, you begin to see something happening here.
Let me make this disclaimer: I believe in science. Science has led me to believe that the climate throughout the world is going through a dramatic change. And I think man has something to do with it.
My reasoning starts with the extinction of the dinosaurs due to a meteorite the size of a football field hitting the Yucatan Peninsula. The impact caused massive forest fires to emit a huge amount of smoke. Debris from the impact itself sent mile after square mile of dirt into the atmosphere causing a “Nuclear Winter” where the sun never shines. Most plants and animals that lived off the plants died and never returned. This leads me logically to believe that after 5,000 years of pumping smoke — from wood, coal, gasoline, cigarettes and all sorts of fossil-burning contraptions — into the air we breathe, we have had some effect on our weather today. Maybe a big effect. But how much is too much?
Is there anything we can do to reduce or eliminate these bad weather seasons? From forest fires and drought to floods and monsoon rains; from the sub-zero temperatures that shut down businesses to temperatures so hot they have to halt professional tennis matches? No matter, we have to try. I support government representatives who acknowledge climate change. To do otherwise is like hanging onto the edges of the flat earth.
I want to welcome William Teckmyer III to our Creative Director’s position which had been held by Kathy Baker Moorhouse since the first issue of akronlife magazine (nee Akron Life & Leisure). Will has studied under Kathy since 2008 when he was hired as Production Manager and Artistic Director. Will is a graduate of Kent State University where he studied journalism, information design and English literature. And, since this issue features our Single in the City cover story, I want to spread the word that Will is still single. He’s also good-looking, funny, smart, and he’s got a job.
Don Baker, Jr.