Minnesota’s six-month winter is a sign we cannot ignore

Once the temperature finally hit 60 degrees last week, suddenly every tree was taken by hammock strings, used as a backrest or provided shade to the groups of students studying underneath the leaves. The campus was infiltrated with walkers, runners and bikers, finally basking in the sunlight. Professors were equally as ecstatic; some even allowing their students to convince them to have class outside. People suddenly avoid staying inside, taking every moment they can to be out in nature; walking through the natural lands, walking into Northfield and sitting in the chairs outside that have finally come out of hibernation.

However, as we enjoy the beautiful weather, how can we forget that there was a snowstorm less than three weeks ago? In April? How can we ignore that our winter was an entire six months long this year? 

On the day of the April snowstorm, I was working Admitted Students Day and doing tech for the international dance show, Veselica. I remember telling the students and parents that wandered into the Admissions Office searching for Buntrock that it “normally isn’t like this in April” and that “I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life and it’s never this bad!” The storm was so terrible that the dance department made the decision to cancel the evening Veselica show, a performance that was the culmination of a year’s hard work. However, instead of searching for answers as to why we were experiencing these ridiculously cold, long winters, we prayed for spring. We blamed living in Minnesota and joked about how horribly cold and awful living in Minnesota is to our friends out of state. 

“Humanity has become reckless with its usage of the earth. We take our natural resources for granted, forgetting that the Earth is not capable of reproducing most of these resources.” – Katie Anderson ’20

We need to face the facts. It’s impossible to hide from climate change. It affects each and every person on the earth: liberal, conservative, American, Asian, European, African, young, old, poor, wealthy and everything in between. And it’s more than just cold winters in Minnesota. According to the New York Times article regarding climate change, permafrost in Siberia has been melting at a rapid speed. Areas of Washington currently have about 30 days of flooding a year – this number has quadrupled since 1960. Similarly, Wilmington, N.C., is now experience 90 days of flooding a year. The damage due to natural disasters has already escalated.

Suddenly, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes are leaving a longer lasting imprint on their victims. Nations without the infrastructure  to easily rebuild after disasters find themselves further unable to find economic balance after being brutalized by waves and winds.

The sickening issue with these statistics is that they are preventable. Humanity has become reckless with its usage of the earth. We take our natural resources for granted, forgetting that the Earth is not capable of reproducing most of these resources. Countries pour pollutants into the atmosphere and carelessly dry the earth of its abilities.

However, the human population has become oblivious to the issues of climate change. Some even believe that climate change is not real. The more citizens of earth forget about the ground they stand on, the more likely it is that we will lose Earth in a few short generations.

Yet, no one can question the statistics and the facts of climate change. Climate change is not an issue we can leave for future generations. Reversing climate change must begin now in order to make a significant difference.

Katie Anderson ’20 (anders43@stolaf.edu) is from Saint Paul, Minn. She majors in English and music.