The issues of Climate & Environmental Change—which entail being aware of the effects of climate change upon our globe and our local environments and undertaking the actions necessary to safeguard our planet and mitigate the effects of that changing environment and climate—are important to our lives and critical to our kids’ lives.
If you cleared your driveway of snow often in Hayfield last year, you were in a minority as most folks in Franconia, Rose Hill, Clermont, Bush Hill, Kingstowne, Groveton, and Island Creek did not report as much snow removal as in previous years. And how many of you have had your garbage pick-up dates changed due to weather? Those changes were partially caused by global warming resulting in changes to our climate.
If you lived in Lee District in 2003, you probably remember that rainfall was a matter of regular, cyclical rains of moderate duration with a sprinkling of more sustained downpours of flood-causing potential. You also knew that if it was raining in Clermont it was probably doing so in Old Town Alexandria.
If you live in Lee District in 2020, you doubtless know that you can have a thunderstorm and flash-flooding-caliber rainfall in Rose Hill and call your relatives in Springfield to find out they have not had a drop of rain. If you bought your home in 2005 with the gutters as they were then you have since bought industrial-sized ones or been cleaning the originals out monthly to ensure they are diverting water away from your foundation.
A really big storm a decade ago would affect a slew of connecting states. A big storm today can begin in the mid-west and camp out in the mid-Atlantic only to hit with its true force in New England, all within a couple of weeks. A Nor’easter used to be a storm that affected the nation’s northeastern states, now it can reach Georgia. Our weather, thanks to global warming, has become more unpredictable and yet predictably more intense. Out climate is changing and with it will come environmental change.
If you moved into the area a decade ago, you knew flooding in Huntington was periodic, today you know it is recurring. Similarly, an ambulance, police car, or fire truck ran by, sirens blaring, about three times a day, today those noises are heard multiple times daily. At rush hour, driving from the Mark Twain MS toward the freeways, down Franconia road to Telegraph road or in the opposite direction to Van Dorn Street, was a matter of fewer than five minutes. Today that ride can take twice as long with cars forming quarter-mile lines. That added flooding, noise, and exhaust pollution, and commute time have changed our environment—the impact of those changes, and their repercussions, are countless, as should be our manners of addressing them, and we will begin to explore those in the months ahead.