Yesterday we went to the beach, sat on the sand and watched the waves. It was a little windy walking along the promenade but down on the beach it was perfect. Sublime really. I took off my shoes and socks and buried my feet in the sand.
And the date was March 11th which still seems unbelievable (the warmest March 11th since 1977). If I've ever sat on the beach in March I don't remember it. Everyone was out with their dogs, their kids or their significant others, eating ice cream and smiling out from behind their sunglasses because, yep, it looks like we killed winter this year. A heady, scary thing. I don't like winter much myself and am as happy for the warm temperatures as anyone, yet I don't wish winter permanently dead because of what that would signify. Global warming — we're cooking ourselves.
An article in The Toronto Star last week cited research that showed "significant shortening" of the outdoor skating season across Canada. One of the co-authors of the study mentioned that Wayne Gretzky had learned to skate on a backyard rink and said that based on the research, it's highly possible "within four decades there will be very little to no outdoor natural skating in Canada with the exception of Winnipeg."
Linking the nation's obsession with hockey to the battle against climate change is a smart move, I think. Many of us in this country seem absurdly resistant to change. It's as though we believe (in ostrich-like fashion) that our natural resources are limitless and our reckless plundering of them can go on forever without any change of strategy (screw the animals, the trees and the bleeding heart environmentalists!). But hey, any suggestion that we may be forced to learn to skate indoors no doubt sets off alarm bells across our once frosty nation. So what do we do when our unwillingness to change in one area is directly countered by our unwillingness to change in another? Will we stop functioning entirely like those old Star Trek robots that couldn't hold two opposing ideas in their heads without short circuiting?
If so, I hope some more environmentally friendly country can come in and take charge. I'm looking at you Iceland, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden and Norway! You can even install your own government here, if you like, as a significant percentage of us have already given up on democracy and won't mind, even when we snap out of our stupor. Like Wayne Gretzky, I learned to skate on a backyard rink (which my dad used to flood every year) so I think that qualifies me to issue the invitation.
And while you're at it, Iceland, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden and Norway, you might want to set up some housing for what will be the former Conservative government in the middle of Alberta Tar Sands ground. Those folks love themselves some dirty oil and you'll be able to keep an eye on them there and prevent them from being a danger to others. Of course, you'll have to haul away the equipment first because their temptation to use it seems rather strong.