Tag Archives: climate crisis

Drought in New England

Old map of my neighborhood

When I tried to type “drought” in the title just now, it auto-corrected to “fright.” Exactly!

We are finally getting some rain, but it’s been bad, really bad — super hot and dry. Even that hardiest of perennials, the hosta, has struggled. I’ve dug up four shrubs and will likely have to dig up two more. Ferns have crisped and collapsed. Astilbe try valiantly, but barely make it despite daily watering. I’ve even been watering well-established trees for fear of losing them (NB: our reservoir, the Quabbin, has high levels right now).

It’s been a close-to-home wake up call for an area relatively immune to the drastic effects of climate change. Hurricanes are rare here. Tornados happen now again, but usually out by Worcester or Springfield. We don’t get flooding or wildfires and until now, drought was something that happened out West.

A dogwood that I planted at the elementary school years back doesn’t look like it’s gonna make it

A “flash drought” is nothing like the nearly decade-long drought in California, say, but it brings immediate consequences.

I read that a temperature change of 1.5 degrees would be catastrophic for forests in the Northeast.

This is not autumnal turning

No wonder some nights I feel the acid bloom of fear just as I’m dropping off to sleep.

Another heat record?

Boston is headed toward another summer of record-breaking heat.

Four of the five hottest summers [in the US] have now occurred since 2011. The summers of 2021 and 1936 hold the first- and second-place rankings, followed by 2012, 2011 and 2020, respectively. Fox29Philadelphia

One of the most on-point novels about the climate crisis that I’ve read is The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. Okay, I haven’t read all that many novels on the topic, but here’s why this one is so good. It plausibly and with a lot of detail imagines how rising temperatures will impact us and it plausibly and with a lot of detail posits the solutions.

Of course the solutions are only plausible if climate deniers are removed from power and an extraordinary and unprecedented cooperation occurs across the globe. Maybe far-fetched then?

It’s long and not every reader will want to invest the time. Luckily there are two articles in The New Yorker that might appeal to you instead. The shorter article offers a 19 minute audio and the longer article is accompanied by a 55-minute audio.

The shorter article begins by describing the book’s opening scene: a lethal heat wave descends on India, with vast, horrifying consequences.

A recent news story echoes this premise.

From YaleClimateConnections.com

I laughed when my brother’s partner suggested we plan an upcoming visit to Los Angeles in September instead of July because it’s so hot there then. It’s pretty hot here too, I told her.

When we moved into this house in 1993, for the first many summers there were only a couple of weeks, maybe ten days, that were unbearably hot. You could get by with a window unit easily.

When the boys were little and we had one window AC, we’d all sleep in one bedroom like refugees during those dog days. Afternoons, when we weren’t swimming at Crystal Lake, we’d go to the movies or the mall just for the chilled air. The heat spells were relatively brief and manageable.

And then it changed. The heat started earlier in the season and lasted longer. Much longer. I had to campaign for central air because it’s expensive. We have a supply of window fans to cool us on the borderline days, but it’d be really hard to get through a Boston summer without central air anymore.

I’m planning to write upstairs with AWA friends this morning (via zoom of course) then spend as much time outside as I can stand later. I have a beautiful fresh bundle of dill so maybe a cold cucumber soup is in order!

From prognostications of doom to menu planning? Yeah, that’s me all the way.

Have a great weekend all.