Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Climate Change Department: Snow on Mont Royal, and the Florida Everglades

This morning the traffic person on Radio Canada’s morning show gleefully exclaimed: “There’s snow on Mont Royal!”

Groans could be heard in the background, and the snow didn’t last long—there was none when I reached the top about 45 minutes later—but I was pleased. My birthday is tomorrow and in the decades we’ve lived in Montreal, not a November 8 has passed without at least a few snow flakes having fallen. Even last year, when snow did not come to stay until after Christmas, a dusting of snow covered the ground one morning at the end of October. For snow not to fall by now would be—for me at least—the absolute proof that major climate change had reached us. This morning’s flakes are like a small reprieve.

As it happens there is another bit of hope in this morning’s New York Times: the US House of Representatives has overturned the veto George W. Bush slapped on an omnibus water project bill last Friday. The $23,2 billion bill had been the result of bi-partisan study of many water resources problems, including the destruction of the Florida everglades, but Bush called it a pork barrel, full of projects for everyone.

One of the major problems the bill addresses is the destruction of the Florida everglades. The “river of grass” which once ran through the center of the state is on the way to disappearance because of encroachment by development and diversion of waterways. No houses would be demolished, but ways may be found to conserve water better.

Pogo, the legendary possum created by Walt Kelly and who lived in the Okenofee swamp for several decades in the mid-20th century, might be pleased. More likely, though—once he saw that the bill does not address the root cause of Florida’s water problems, the suburbanization of the region-- he would repeat what he said many times; “We have met the enemy and he is us”?

Such a great summing up, and the inspiration for the title of my collection of short stories, Finding the Enemy (Oberon, 1997.)


Martin Langeland said...

Per J Boynton:
"Hippo Birdies, Two Ewes."
Just wrap them all in a copy of Pogo smelling the flowor Porky Pine gave him each year for Christmas.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Thank you for your good wishes.

You might like to take a look at Finding the Enemy for other reasons: the last story takes place in Bellingham WA, while others are rooted in eastern Washington. A little local colour, there.