Braving the heat in Upstate New York

Some time in November, when the first little snow flurry made Syracuse sparkle, I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about dressing warmly in the cold as a way to help enjoy being outdoors during the long winter. I planned on writing it during the first real cold snap. Well, as everyone knows, that snap has not come.

In fact, 2006 is the warmest year on record in the United States and the third-warmest globally.

While we usually focus entirely upon local issues in this blog, I would feel remiss if I did not make my sadness and anger heard on this issue. Global climate change is a world problem, but one that is intensely local. There is no way to insulate a community from it or to distance yourself from the problem. It is an Upstate problem. It is a Buffalo problem. It is a Candor problem. It belongs to all of us. (To take stock of your own contribution, I highly recommend this Earth Day Ecological Footprint Quiz, it only takes a minute or two).

So what are we to do about this problem? Is it hopeless?

Since its inception, this blog has advocated a rebuilding of strong local communities as the solution to many of the problems plaguing Upstaters. Risking the possibility of sound like a broken record, I would like to promote local community action as the only effective way to combat global climate change. We can't wait for the President, we can't wait for Congress.

What can you do? Buy local: at Wegmans get the NY state apples and milk, even better, join or frequent your local food cooperative and buy food from farmers in your community. How does this help? Think about all of the energy it takes to bring up apples from Chile or lettuce from California. Furthermore, the money you spend stays in the local economy, helping to keep our family farms up and running and our landscape beautiful. What would Upstate be like without cows grazing on the hillsides or rows of corn in the valleys?

You can walk, bike or take public transportation more often. Not only do you save power, but you can get good exercise and, perhaps, get a chance to see your local community at ground level. The best way to come to know, love and keep abreast of changes in your community is to walk through it. You'll notice things you never saw before, take my word for it. Taking public transportation brings you into closer contact with the community--both the people in the bus and with the local government (they can always use keeping an eye on).

Consider allowing wind turbines into your community, sure they aren't much to look at, but I'd rather sacrifice a single hillside view than to loose all of the colors of fall. What's more important to you, foliage or one viewshed?

For a list of simple things you can do in your own home, check here.

What do you think about this winter we're having? What have you or your community done to about climate change? I look forward to your thoughts, observations or rants.

-by Jesse


Anonymous said...

Global warming my aching ass. Been to Redfield lately?

York Staters said...

One of the effects of global climate change is all around wacky weather: massive hurricanes, summer record-breaking heat waves, and massive snowfall. Does a cold, snowy Febuary make you forget December? Or November? Or early January? When we look at the big picture, we see that across the globe, temperatures are climbing. That doesn't mean that there will be no cold days or snowy days, but that on average over all of the days, it will get warmer and warmer.