Monday, February 04, 2008

Groundhog Green

Recently all the media hooted and hollered about Groundhog Day.

There is a great movie with Bill Murray called Groundhog Day. It is one of those stupid but funny movies, where Bill Murray’s character keeps reliving the same day, every day, until that one faithful day, when he finally gets it right.

The recent hype wasn’t over this comedy. It was over a bunch of nuts, that put their trust in predicting the weather, into a furry creature that is a member of the rat family. Groundhogs are actually members of the rodent world, and rats are certainly part of their kin.

Up here in Canada, the groundhogs predicted an early spring thaw. In the States, the groundhogs had mixed views – some predicted more winter, while others ‘claim’ spring is just around the corner.

I don’t believe either larger-than-life rat.

Actually, I don’t buy into the weather forecaster’s either – who aren’t nearly as vane as to predict an early spring or a longer than normal winter.

I think the only way to see what will happen is to wait it out. The whole planet’s ecosystem has gone all funny, thanks to global warming.

We’re seeing more severe weather in all seasons, because of the earth’s temperature continuing to climb. In the summer, we get more severe lightening storms, which cause severe flooding, produce damaging winds, and wreak havoc with power systems. In the fall, we see more rain and high winds. While now in winter, we see more severe snow storms which shut down major metropolitan areas – though who doesn’t want a snow day every so often?

It wasn’t all that long ago, when I can remember we’d only get maybe one or two severe storms per year. Now we’re averaging at least four or five severe storms per year, and that number is on the rise.

Maybe the groundhogs are closer to Mother Nature than we are, so they really can predict when spring will come. But I’d bet easy money that the groundhogs are just as shaken up by the chaotic weather we’ve been experiencing.

Groundhogs, and all the other plants and animals which we share the world with, don’t have the luxury have being able to sit on the couch, sipping a hot chocolate, while watching the storm on the weather network – all safe under the protection of four walls and a roof.

Aside from us humans, all other forms of life have to – pardon the pun – weather the storm.

Which is really ironic when you think about it, as global warming has been caused largely due to human activity. There are some elements of global warming which are natural – but for the most part our reliance on fossil fuels, are disposable society, our use of various products which have increased ozone, and various other things, have all been the key factors creating the increase in the severity and length of wicked weather.

If I was a groundhog, I’d probably go on strike – work for humans which have torn up MY once comfy existence! Never!

However, groundhogs lack the intelligence to communicate such thoughts. Though those that trust their weather predictions may say otherwise.

We are getting better at reducing the human footprint we’ve left on this planet, through recycling programs, more efficient vehicles, and substituting older products with newer, non-environmentally threatening ones.

But it may be too little, too late, at least for you, me and the groundhog.

It took Mother Nature millions of years to balance out the environment after the last ice age, and it will no doubt take her just as long, if not longer, to bring balance once again to the human-damaged environment.

Think you’ll be around in a million years? Ask the groundhog for a prediction on that one.

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