Saturday 9 January 2010

Difference between snowmen and snowwomen?

It snowed yesterday morning, not a lot but enough for someone younger than me to excitedly shout, “it’s snowing” and wake me up. It’s snowing again now as I write, and by the time I finish we will be snowed in again for the weekend.

And, coincidently, two days ago George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian newspaper that: “Climate skeptics are failing to understand the most basic meteorology - that weather is not the same as climate, and single events are not the same as trends.”

Seems that teenagers living in my house might also be confusing weather and trends.

Mind you it snowed here in December too, I know that for a fact because I was stuck in the house for three days unable to get out, or if I HAD been out, in.

So that’s twice in a short period, which is kind of unusual around here even if it isn’t a trend.

George goes on to ask – “Why is there a national outpouring of idiocy every time some snow falls?”

Snow can do that to you.

Apparently Ruby, my 12 year old niece got in trouble yesterday because the snowball fight she got into after school was just so exciting that she forgot to phone home and say she would be late.

I understand.

The last time that happened to me I was at university and, well, we just had to use all the snow available.

And there was a lot.

I remember pairing up with a friend and one of us would lob a very high snowball up and over our adversaries. Something about such a trajectory always resulted in them looking up, thus exposing them to direct low attack by the other.

Ruby, you should try it - it works every time.

The point George was trying to make of course is a serious one – that people who are global warming denialists have seized on the remarkably cold weather either side of the new year as evidence that they are right and those that believe the world is falling apart are wrong.

It is weird though – when I was a kid (and speaking from a SE England perspective) we had white Christmases all the time, my memory is clearly white, and the snow that fell was big, thick and joyful.

Somewhere after that it stopped being the case and betting on a White Christmas in London (as the bookies encouraged) became a joke.

And now it’s starting again, though Krissie points out that it was 4 years ago that we were last stuck in the house for three days.

I think George is right, and people do confuse weather and climate but I also think (or hope) that the majority can see that looking at either shows clearly that something has got messed up and needs sorting.

And part of me agrees with Ruby –that throwing a lot of snowballs might just help.

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