Tag Archives: winter

Celebrating winter along the Humber

It was forecast, but the extreme warmth since Friday and spring-like rain last night caught me off-guard. Less than 30 cm of snow this entire winter (25% of normal) in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the 10 cm we had managed to accumulate, purged, in just one day.

And so, the very literal “week of winter” that graced the GTA – and which I did my best to celebrate and share, has come to an abrupt – and dangerous – end.

Why dangerous? Creeks and rivers will flood; ice – at least where it managed to form – will jam; birds and insects are returning and emerging, yet, even if this warmth continues, killing frosts and cold will still sweep in, causing confusion, lack of resources and, ultimately, ecological damage.

It’s not just the birds and the bees, a chaotic climate system, and the volatile weather that comes with it, leaves none unscathed…
farms get soaked and flooded, pests and disease can survive better and start reproducing sooner and the risk of budding fruit trees and vines dying later by frost increases, too
-infrastructure costs spiral, as pulses of salt water, combined with night-time freeze-thaw cycles, erode, corrode and crack pipes, roads and bridges
-snow recreation goes bust, while any other recreation, even using a trail, becomes icy, muddy and inaccessible, all at once

As you might be wondering based on the title of this post, there’s one more thing! Before I let you go on such a serious note, enjoy some from the last day of this winter week, celebrated, this past Thursday. I hope you had a chance to celebrate this brief spell of winter, too! More than anything, I hope, so much, that we don’t forget the past – if we lose sight of what “seasonal” and “normal” is, and why a stable climate is so important, we’ll never realize what we lost, or what we could have had… We’ll just be sitting like a frog in a pot of boiling water, awaiting an easily avoidable fate.

‪#‎winterlove‬ ‪#‎climatereality‬ ‪#‎endangeredseason‬
and, once more, back to #‎winterlessGTA‬…

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A Winter Hike at Erindale Park

Another day of wonderful winter weather, another hike, this time with a focus one particular hill! Explore my friends wonderful blog for photos and rich detail on this adventure! ‪
#‎sledding‬ ‪#‎wetandcold‬ ‪#‎worthit‬

I really hope I get to see such winter weather again this month! Get and enjoy the beauty of nature, whatever the season and weather is for you – it’s the best stress-reliever and idea-generator there is! ‪
#‎naturepower‬ ‪#getoutside #‎winterlove‬

A dose of science a day keeps the apathy away, so check out this research from the U.S. on changing snowfall!
http://www.climatecentral.org/…/winters-becoming-more-rainy… (Great site for climate news!)

I hope Canada, as we revive our scientific leadership, unmuzzle scientists, restore funding and unleash the potential of our researchers, will add more perspective on our changing climate here, too – particularly in the Arctic.
#endangered #season

Dreams and Illusions

A soft blanket of white covered the land, glistening under the sun’s rays. The snow looked thick  but crumbled easily under our feet as my cousin and I trudged through to meet our fellow hiker. Our fellow hiker, Rahul Mehta, was very knowledgable about the area. He informed us that the Erindale Park, through which we were now strolling, was once a landfill that had been repurposed into a park after the closing of the landfill. The tobogganing hill to which we were headed was the last cap over the landfill. The tobogganing hill was surrounded by pine trees frosted with snow, and some straggling and bare deciduous trees. The view from the top was spectacular!

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Rahul pulled out his cardboard while my cousin and I prepared our plastic bags to sail down the hill. The feeling of drifting down was great even though the ride was slow. But our luck was about to…

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Winter tips for avoiding slips!

As winter finally considers maybe starting here in Southern Ontario it is worth reminding ourselves, family and friends of some winter tips to maximize your enjoyment of the season and minimize the cost. Be sure to check out the links for extra tips!

Don’t overdo the salt, in fact you barely need any at all! Try to start by buying salt alternatives – encourage your local government to do the same! Often, like fertilizer on our lawn, we apply far more than is needed. Use a salt alternative, this link provides a wealth of information, including cost and benefits/harms of each: http://water.greenventure.ca/road-salts-alternatives

For your government, share some of these tips as to why they should consider alternatives – great for the longevity of infrastructure, city trees and landscapes as well as our waterways! Be sure to add-in that this must occur with improved policy, such as lower winter speed limits and stronger recommendation (or mandatory, depending) for use of winter ties: http://inhabitat.com/snow-melting-road-salt-wrecks-havoc-on-the-environment-infrastructure/

Don’t drive too fast! Best to take it slow and steady or, if you want a comfortable commute without the stress of whiteout roads, there is often a bus/train alternative waiting for you! More driving tips here: http://www.caasco.com/Auto/Auto-Maintenance/Winter-Driving-Guide-Tips.aspx

Do keep an emergency kit in your car at all times (not just winter) – this should include at minimum: flashlights and batteries, radio, blankets, charging cables, flare, first aid kit, window puncture, heat/cold pack and ideally some non-perishable food and a spare tire.

Do check on your friends, family and neighbours throughout the season, especially when a storm hits. Sticking together brings out the best in us, like when someone needs help shovelling their driveway, a charge for their car or heat/shelter/food if the power runs out. More tips for winter safety can be found here: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/sfttps/tp201212-eng.aspx

Finally, DO keep a stockpile of hot chocolate (and your favourite toppings), it just makes winter awesome. Now back to enjoying the great winter season, time to get outdoors!

A simple clear, shiny idea – better windows!
Let’s get retrofitting!

Grist

Climate scientists have estimated that, in order to avoid runaway global warming, the world would need to cut its carbon emissions roughly in half by 2050. Since emissions in developing countries like China and India are still rising fast, meeting this target would require developed nations to aim for a figure more like 80 percent. When you consider that the United States, the largest polluter in the developed world, has no real strategy in place to achieve that — and that no binding international agreements appear to be on the horizon — the goal can start to sound nigh impossible.

The task is so intimidating that even serious people are starting to entertain extreme-sounding geoengineering ideas like flying business jets into the stratosphere and spraying sulfuric acid all over the place to try to deflect sunlight before it reaches the Earth. Others reckon it’s already too late to prevent…

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Canada & Winter – An unnecessary dichotomy.

To many new Canadians, seeing their first winter ever is a miracle to behold, it is a treasure. Appreciation is never higher then from those who need it most…

For farmers, winter is a blanket, a source of renewal and health and a fickle friend that can give and take away, just like any season.

Winter renews the groundwater, provides fresh life into our waterways and keeps the flow strong well into the spring. It helps keep pests in check, and directly sustains the lives of thousands of northern plants and animals – whether it be using the sea ice to hunt, cold waters to live or permafrost to grow within.

FWinter is a treasure, a rare, special season.or nature, winter is a precious gift. One of four equally valuable seasons in a cycle of life and death, preservation and consumption…All species in Canada depend on winter to some extent, it helps maintain balance both between species and between seasons.

Winter is ultimately the reason our country holds such a vast quantity of water – nearly all our lakes, ponds and wetlands can be traced to one of the grandest displays of winter in history – the ice age!

And yet…we are so disconnected today. Why does nearly everyone complain about winter? We try so hard to avoid it, salt it, not touch it, wish for it in the summer yet bemoan when it arrives. Even our forced connection to winter is unstable…we forget to use winter tires, wear fashionable clothes that don’t even insulate, pretty boats that make us slip and shovel our driveways all hunched over (bend with your knees!)!

What has happened to all the community, outdoor recreation and winter fun that we used to enjoy? We take advantage of what winter provides and sadly, very soon, it will just as easily be taken away.

We are losing winter, so much more than just a season.

Take a minute to appreciate that wonderful state of water falling outside – you should hope it keeps falling, because winter is not what is used to be, and it may not stick around much longer. As with the disruption of all other parts of our climate system, winter is becoming an increasing luxury – and should be treated as such: protected, preserved, enjoyed and understood.

Turn that indoor fear into some outdoor joy.

Go out and experience winter, here for a limited time. Thanks.