The weather this winter has been quite calm. We were blessed with not having much in snow. The temperatures varied. Most of the precipitation that graced our county was in the form of rain – all within the Goldilocks Zone – not too much and not too little.
As someone who spent a number of summers chasing after big storms, tornado-forming storms, I know that this could be setting us up for some pretty severe weather.
We can say without any doubt that the planet, the climates around the world, and the affected weather has had some very drastic changes the last ten years – more so even in the last five years.
I understand that there are still many arguments about climate change but the most controversial seems to be how much of a role humans have played, if any.
Growing up in a small, rural community of Monticello the pollution levels were rarely discussed. In the not so distant metropolitan areas pollution was a discussion as far back as I can remember – more specifically discussions took firestorm in the 90’s.
Our rural community is also a well known tourist hot spot. From the theme park, half a dozen camp grounds, timeshare resorts and two man-made lakes, most of our community didn’t suffer until the recession after 9/11.
Around the same time, we began discussing pollution issues in our lakes. Many of the area farmers had run-off drainage ditches that ran directly into our lakes. The Twin Lakes Sewer District and local lake preservationists began discussing that not only were we dumping toxic chemicals from farm lands but nearly every lake home that was spread out between the two lakes were set up to drain their household waste into water. Yes. You read that correctly. No septic tanks. No sewer hookups. Every household literally dumping waste into the lakes.
I remember several times sections of our lakes were closed off from public usage. The authorities blamed it on the enormous amount of geese our city got every year. But, the truth sunk in when the Geese stopped showing up.
Animals and their migration patterns should give us a clear image of our environment. They tend to be very specific. Migration patterns are hereditary traits passed down through each animals specific species. These migration patterns are dependent on resources in food. When the food resources are no longer abundant or at the very least compromised – the migration routes change. When the migration patterns change so do the predictors and hazards each species encounters.
The Twin Lakes Sewer District established new sewer connection points for lake homes. Shortly after, the recession hit our community. The tourism dropped nearly in half for a few years. There was no longer a need to keep both lakes as tourist attractions sending most of the locals to Lake Freeman and tourists to Lake Shafer. I realize that isn’t completely true. For obvious reasons there are those who travel between both lakes but not like anything before. Perfect example, every resort on Lake Freeman has now been closed.
Between the toxicity of our lake water and the lack of tourism our community suffered greatly. Even if our small rural community seems clean and tidy from an outsiders perspective – and for the most part I agree. But these are perfect examples of how even the slightest amount of human-related pollution can impact even a small community like ours.
Our current federal government has taken a huge contrast from the previous administration – with the elimination of many clean water and air acts the Obama Administration helped establish. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) now being directed by someone who wanted the EPA eliminated.
I can’t see this as a step forward but only as a step backwards.