Living in the foothills of the Appalachians, and coming from Scotland, I always seem to be longing for cool weather. While the Appalachains are a wonderful place to live – amidst the ancient song sung by both the mountains and the flow of the even older French Broad river it is even one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world – but the average temperature is too hot for this transplant.
The summers here are harsh. This summer I lost weeks, months in an overheated stupor lacking energy and inspiration – the heat just seems to suck it all out of you. I need the temperature to dip at night to reset my body clock. Yet in my 6 years of living here I have come to enjoy the chorus of the night with it’s serenading songs of tree frogs and cicadas.
Fall here is one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen as this lushly forested land explodes in a riot of colors. As for winter, I don’t know what has happened to winter. December brought us early morning frosts, I’d creep out into the silent world and photograph the last remaining flowers. Christmas however brought us temperatures in the 70’s – Scottish summers don’t always reach those temperatures, strange to meet Christmas in tshirts and flip flops.
Someone once told me that the divine Hag, the Cailleach wasn’t relevant in our modern world, but I feel as we really begin to feel the bite of climate change we need her more than ever! The driver of climate change is the amount of carbon released into the air and now we have reached the 400 parts of carbon per million which we reached in early 2015. Humans are wonderfully creative folks, we didn’t know we were doing this – how were we ever to guess that burning fossil would have such a detrimental effect to our climate.
This beautiful yet disturbing image shows a storm which originates along the 35 degree North Latitude line west of Spain, these winds forced a train of warm air and moisture north towards the north pole which is expected to bring rising temperatures to the North pole. The average temperature at this most highest northerly point is on average between -30 C (-22 F) and -20 C (-4 F) respectively. Predicted figures state this storm is to bring a rise of temperature in the 36-72 degrees above normal. According to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) temperature at the North Pole have only reached above freezing once.
I am no climate scientist, although I do have a Masters Degree in Science in Human Ecology but that just lends me a teeny tiny grasp of these figures. What I do understand is that we are changing our climate and we are seeing the results of that shift. 2015 has been the year of breaking many climate records, the first few months of 2015 broke record temperatures around the globe, it’s officially the hottest year ever. since records began.
Although the images of a warming North Pole is in my mind I am not one for doom and gloom. We can easily give into feelings that this is a hopeless situation – yet as consumers we have power in who we give our money to – we can choose where our food comes from, where our energy comes from – we need to remember that we are wild and creative creatures. On this threshold of a new year we don’t have to reinvent the wheel we just need to take personal responsibility – there are groups out there already tackling each and every aspect we might want to do something about and support.
Our age is the age that is going to make the difference – ours is the year zero. It feels like we are being given the future of the planet to hold in our hands – we either make it or break her! Personally I take that challenge, I rise to that challenge and I do it with roots woven deep down into the earth and secured in the very bedrock. I don’t do it alone – I do it with community, I work with my fears and anxieties about the future of this wonderful planet. I turn to the old ones, the ones our society rejected and called irrelevant. The ancestral mothers and grandmothers. I walk with the Cailleach in her ancient cycle of death, renewal and rebirth! I find the things I am passionate about and support people working politically in that realm. I create sacred space where we can share our worries and our successes and hold and inspire each other and most of all I sing the song of humanity – that we are wild and creative creatures and our story of renewal starts with a single step…