On Thursday, Shippensburg students took advantage of the sunny skies and warm temperatures by dodging classes, hanging up their hammocks and taking in an early summer feeling. However, a 70-degree day in the middle of February is — and should be — concerning to many.
It’s OK to enjoy the warm weather. We all love spring, and the warmth is getting us in the planting mood. But in a larger sense, it’s existentially horrifying. We should not just be alarmed; we should be freaking out. Our generation is the most aware of (and will be most impacted by) the effects of climate change. Some of us turn toward nihilism and give up. Some in our generation, like Greta Thunberg and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, are taking very active roles in the fight.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that older generations are not doing enough. So, while it is not fair, we need to step up. We need to go to protests. We need to pressure politicians and corporations. We need to run for office. Most importantly, we need to vote. We can’t let people who deny science continue to legislate our future. We need to elect people who not only accept the fact that climate change is happening, but are willing to take the steps to address it.
The warm weather can be great for the sports teams to be able to practice outside without freezing and other groups to step out of hibernation, but in the big picture it is not a good thing. It’s hard for our generation to step up and get our voices heard, just because there are so many people in the older generations and most of them don’t care enough. We still shouldn’t give up or lose hope and keep working towards change and getting our voices heard because it is our future and the future of our kids and grandkids. Voting is important because no change can be expected in terms of climate change policies when the leading politicians don’t believe in climate change or don’t work to change anything.
On the other hand, there have been exceptionally warm days in February and exceptionally cold days in May and June for a long time. Are these abnormal conditions becoming more and more frequent? Perhaps. Is it driven by man-made pollution? Partially, and maybe largely. Is the warm weather today something that we should absolutely link to climate change? No. If we experience five days of temperatures above 70 degrees in February, then one could produce a better link to climate change.
However, some may view Thursday’s warm temperatures as simply weather, not climate. Climate concerns a lengthy period of time that we cannot just analyze on singular incidents like this. Let’s consider that, except for a high of 57 on Sunday, the temperature for the past week is relatively on-par for this time of year (high of low-mid 40s, near freezing temperature at night). There will be unseasonably cold days in March, April, May and so on. And there will also be unseasonably warm days during that stretch, as this week has shown.
The weather being like this sure is nice in the short term, but in the long term it is terrifying. Imagine reading a novel like “Parable of the Sower,” a climate-based science fiction novel set in 2024. It was a dystopian future that readers are close to feeling and seeing. The younger generation is stepping up, and that’s incredibly important. Our generation has to be motivated to make a change for the world that we are living in and our children are going to be living in.