The weather is turning warm again with some forecasts for temperatures next week to approach 60F. It is also likely to be a wet period, with rain instead of snow. Some forecasters fear the warmth might stretch on for several weeks.  All of this portends flooding as we quickly lose our snow pack. The snow pack is very important as the slow melting of the snow in spring recharges our lakes, streams, and aquifer.

I am caught between my love of winter, feeling trapped by the abundant ice on sidewalks, and my desire to feel warm. Often we head south for a week or so during February, or go to India to work for a couple of weeks sometime during the winter. These jaunts allow me to warm up and make our traditionally long winters bearable for me as a person with the cold intolerance associated with Post Polio Syndrome.

Such trips also increase our carbon footprint, as do long-distance teaching trips. We try to offset the harm by living in a very ecological home, driving one vehicle, and having solar panels on our roof. We also have targeted our retirement accounts to support alternative energy sources and other green initiatives.

We have, in the end, a conundrum: no matter how carefully we plan we have a negative impact on the global environment. Simply doing what we love (teaching, traveling, and staying connected with family) increases our impact on the world, so we attempt to be thoughtful, to mitigate the damage we cause, and to work with others to build more sustainable futures.

Even so we know that eight billion humans must inevitably have a dramatic and lasting impact on global ecosystems and climate. We also understand that furthering human rights, educational access, and environmental and cultural preservation are crucial to any efforts to envision and create a livable future. At the very core of such programs must be the needs and aspirations of women and Indigenous people.

Of course, we are not alone in our desire to be thoughtful and kind, nor in our acknowledgement that living in this epoch of enormous environmental change is challenging. As psychotherapists we spend time each day with others who want to understand their personal struggle and challenges in a larger context, and to grasp the ways their lives are complicated by the very attitudes and policies that threaten environmental collapse. Repeatedly, the process of therapy demonstrates that personal experience is played out in political contexts on the ecological stage, no matter how much those in authority might wish to deny or obfuscate that.



12 thoughts on “Thaw

  1. I am in San Antonio, Texas now….where I thought it would be warmer.
    But the temperature has gone down into the 20s several times.
    Last night it was 32 degrees. And today is another grey day with no sun.
    The plants are confused because some weeks it has gone up into the 70s, only to fall back the next week into freezing temperatures.
    I love the warmth of spring and I can take the heat of summer better than the freezing cold of winter.

    1. Mary, I think cold gets more uncomfortable for most of us as we age. PPS certainly amplifies that.
      The one winter I spent in Texas as a teen was one of the coldest, snowiest on record. I felt so cold! I was used to cold but not used to temps going from 70 to 20 overnight, repeatedly.

  2. As I look around in our world, the weather is changing so fast, so much too fast, that our Mother Earth can’t follow this. Like the melting snow, as you have now.
    In January, we use to have cold and wet weather, where I live in Spain, close to the coast in Valencia area. We had so much sun and up to about 22 C. or 73 F. in January, that even the plant thought, the spring was on the way. Now in February, here is cold, down to around 0 C. or 30 F. in the night and not warm in daytime. We have had very few hours with sun and not much of the needed rain either.
    So weather is really changing all over.
    I don’t own my own house, so I can’t do so much about the heating, as you have done, which is the best way. We need to start with ourselves.

      1. Irene, I imagine most of us want to do more than we are able to. It seems to be the mood of the moment. I am trying to be kind to myself about all of this yearning.

  3. Hi Michael

    On a slightly different topic…

    have you seen the movie Wind River ?

    Phew !

    Such an interesting film from a cultural perspective.

  4. Well, it seems in today’s conditions a real hard issue, of how to choose, the proper thing to do, in order to avoid environmental degradation, it seems to me the first thing we have to curve down, it’s the human fertility index, carbon emissions, and oil products, as a source of energy, and the consumption of livestock, as a habitual diet, without abandoning the thousands of things we can do, to improve a more ecological friendly way of living. 🙂

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