At the post office, my neighbor rolled down the window of his pick-up truck to chat. As is typical in Northern Maine this time of year, we praised the sunlight, warmth, bare patches of ground, and eyed the shrinking snowbanks with delight.
“Winter wasn’t so bad, this year,” he weighed in, “not like it used to be.”
At 85, he’s old enough to remember the -20 F temperatures from January onward.
“Gotta give global warming that much,” he joked.
I’m not sure he believes the climate crisis is real, even though he’s lived through the shocking shift in temperatures, seen the impacts on our local farming community and read the headlines of the disasters like the forest fires, droughts, super-storms and flooding.
“It’s not good for the ecosystem,” I venture, cautiously. “Remember the article in the newspaper that said 90% of the moose calves died from tick swarms?”
When mild winters fail to kill off the tick population, the explosion of ticks literally sucks the blood out of the baby calves. Moose dislike the changing climate. The hotter summers force them to spend more time trying to get cool instead of munching the plants that give them enough fat to survive the winter.
A touch of discomfort shifts through him. He taps the steering wheel uneasily. Then he shrugs.
“Nature has a way of correcting itself,” he says.
Yes, nature corrects itself. But that failsafe is crumbling, rapidly. Nature’s way of correcting itself right now is embodied by the students walking out of school on Fridays, pleading with older generations to take action to ensure their future. Nature is correcting itself through climate scientists publishing well-documented facts about this crisis. Or through activists blocking pipelines or pushing universities and retirement funds to divest from fossil fuels. Earth is speaking through city councils declaring climate emergencies, churches switching to solar and wind, businesses cleaning up their act and much more.
If we hope nature will correct itself, we need to wake up to our role in the rebalancing.