It was 50 degrees in Chicago on Wednesday. It was 60 degrees Saturday. It’s the middle of January in Chicago, IL. Not only is this peculiar, it is exactly the same winter we had last year. Last year, I remember thinking, “I’d never think about leaving if we had winters like this every year.” I also remember thinking that it was a gift, an anomaly, something random and strange. It was 80 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day last year.
For the second year in a row, I am still reveling in it, though. I’m not sad about the recent turn of events. Living in Chicago, we have been lucky enough to miss all of the crazy weather that has ravaged the United States in the last decade. We have not had the scourge of hurricane or blizzard or any other sort of superstorm to deal with, to tear us down and decimate our cities.
In my daily life, it means less worry about how cold it will be and less terror over windchill and more enjoyment of all the wonderful things Chicago has to offer. It means being able to really be present in the city I love so much.
However, while I am not sad, I am worried. I am a believer that we are falling victim to a combination of our own bad decisions and myriad other factors that make up this concept we call Global Warming. It’s happening, people. And even if it’s NOT, people are starting to make compelling arguments for why it’s in our best interest to act as if it is anyway.
I am worried. The fact of the matter is, Earth is going to be around even if we continue to destroy all the elements on it which make it habitable for us. We’re the ones who are going to suffer. And you might be super psyched about trying to figure out how to live on Mars, but I’m pretty comfortable right here. There’s things in the very immediate — like being in such a severe drought that the Chicago River might re-reverse itself and start flowing back into Lake Michigan. Oh, but there’s the matter of us dumping all of our shit into it. Our literal shit. So, it’ll start going into Lake Michigan and … yeah, that won’t be too great.
We’ve got lots of work to do in so many areas environmentally. You’d think we’d want to make this a priority, but we never seem to want to. At the end of the day, it always seems to come down to money. It always does. Companies don’t want to put down the money it takes to be more environmentally responsible and politicians would rather take their money than vote in ways that would make them. Everyone seems to forget than when we’re all dead it won’t really matter too much one way or the other.
But I’m just as shortsighted. For now, I’ll take Spring in January and enjoy every minute of it.