Following a projected higher emissions climate change trend, The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA) predicts that Massachusetts will have a climate similar to South Carolina between the years of 2070-2099.
If that scares you, then I have some words of optimism — that’s the higher emissions prediction. If that didn’t scare you, then you must be imagining lying out on the pool deck looking down at plastic pink flamingos precariously stuck into the lawn and taking a refreshing sip from your coconut smoothie topped with orange zest and christened by the sunlight. Your house could be your permanent vacation destination, so what’s wrong with that? Think of all the money you could save.
I went to South Carolina last March. The temperature, sales tax and happiness levels were soaring sky high. After a couple days, I was ready to call it quits with the hot weather. After all, it wasn’t even spring yet and I was already longing for the revenge of cold weather.
Now that I’m typing this in the fall, I have a different mindset. I miss the predictable t-shirt, shorts and flip-flop weather since I often find my outfits clashing with the weather on a daily basis. Why is it hard for our climate to pick one temperature and stick to it? Maybe everlasting summer weather wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Spongebob Squarepants taught me something last semester. Yes, you read that correctly. That yellow sponge with clothes and an idiotic laugh actually offered a learning experience for me.
Last semester, I watched a short video on YouTube called “The Endless Summer.” In the video, Mr. Krabs opened up the “Krusty Pool” as one of his schemes to make big money. He also planned to create an “endless summer” in order to maximize his business.
He attached pumps to the tailpipes of cars and began pumping their emissions into the atmosphere. As the temperature rose, people came flooding in, paying to use the Krusty Pool to escape the heat. After seeing this positive feedback, Spongebob decided to burn tires to produce more emissions.
Such a large amount of emissions were pumped into the atmosphere that no one wanted to go to the pool and decided to move northwards due to the extreme heat. The pool dried up as well as Mr. Krabs’ dreams.
Let’s put aside the obvious fact that the Krusty Pool sounds extremely unappetizing and let’s look at the facts.
The more optimistic lower emissions projection that I mentioned earlier by NECIA predicts that Massachusetts will have a climate similar to West Virginia in 2070-2099. This entails a 5 to 8 degree Fahrenheit increase in winter temperatures. And if you want me to be really negative, the high emissions projection predicts an 8 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit increase in winter temperature. To be quite frank, I’d prefer neither.
Maybe Spongebob teaches us more than that sea sponges are native to undersea pineapples. He teaches us about an exaggerated version of the future. A version of the future that is completely and feasibly avoidable.
The problem with us is that we think that we watch “The Endless Summer” and we believe that we are much better than Mr. Krabs. We firmly believe that we aren’t going outside and aimlessly pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
But we are.
All of our emissions come from using the technology that has been made available to us. Right? Technically, but we’ve just started an outrageous trend of overusing the technology we feel that we can’t live without. Once we become aware of the implications of our actions, we can do something about it.
Climate change is more serious than we realize and my tastebuds agree. Growing up in New England, I’ve grown to know and love the fall weather and a Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin coffee with a pumpkin donut on the side.
It’s not just the time of year that makes it acceptable to indulge in everything that has the word pumpkin tacked on the front of it. It’s the unpredictable weather that makes you want to curl up next to a fire or frolic amongst the foliage. If there was something I could do to make “Endless Autumn” happen, believe me, I’d be the first one to wave my magic wand.
The thing is, we are not doomed as many people say we are. After taking environmental classes for my major, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say negative things about their faith in humanity. We aren’t that bad.
So instead of making you mad about anthropogenic influences on our climate, I want to make you think twice about the environment. There is hope.
You might think that the NECIA projections are overdramatic, and you may be right. Climatologists don’t know for sure the severity of our wrongdoings, but they do know that people need to start paying attention to the facts.
So what if we won’t be around to see the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have warm temperatures in the 70s year round? I want the future generation to enjoy the fall foliage, pumpkin coffees and apple picking as much as I do. And that must count for something.
Jennifer Ruth is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying environmental analysis and policy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.