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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

No More Frozen Ponds, No More Hockey

No More Frozen Ponds, No More Hockey

Author: Reilly Capps/Monday, July 28, 2014/Categories: climate change

[If the NHL wants to keep having outdoor games, the climate will have to stay cool. Photo credit: the NHL]

In case all those melting glaciers seem remote and unconnected to your life, consider this: hockey is played on ice. 

And the NHL, among others, is worried that global warming will melt some of the ponds on which young hockey players learn to skate. 

"Perhaps more than any other sport, hockey is impacted by environmental issues, particularly climate change and freshwater scarcity," the league said in their recent report. This report is unprecedented in major-league sports. The NHL is actually doing a lot about global warming, such as trying to offset their carbon output and supporting efforts to save forests. (The deniers hate it, see here and here.)

Hockey lovers the world over are noticing the shorter skating season. There's even a website, Rink Watch, for people to upload photos of their melting ice. It's one of many projects in which regular people take note of their warmer world.

"This unique collaboration between scientists and hockey enthusiasts reminds us that climate change isn’t just a remote, future problem for species like polar bears," wrote Josh Laughren, Director, Climate and Energy Program, WWF-Canada. "Climate change is a serious threat to all of us, wherever we are – to our economy, to our way of life, and to many of the traditions that we hold most dear." 

Here is another example of people noticing climate change when it affects them.

We know that when people see something for themselves, they'll often believe it. This is why, according to a new study, a majority of Americans question the reality of the Big Bang, but almost none us questions the fact that smoking causes cancer. Why? The Big Bang doesn't appear to affect anyone*, and nearly everyone knows someone whom cigarettes killed. 

It's possible (and depressing) that it won't be until global warming becomes more like cigarettes and less like the Big Bang -- more an actual presence and less of an abstraction -- that the politics will change.

This presents a problem: not enough people spend enough time outside. (Lots of kids get less outdoor time than prison inmates.) But technology can help. The Internet, and great photographs taken by regular people, could help speed that change up.  Seeing something in photographs can change people's minds. That change is inevitable -- it's just a matter of when, and whether we will have to wait for the deniers to die, or if some of them can be converted. 

I'd love to see outdoor-lovers upload their photos to this blog's parent site, SWPMedia, and tell me how things are changing in their corner of the world.  


*Of course, the Big Bang does affect everything in the universe every millisecond of every day, since EVERYTHING is just the expression of that huge explosion. You just can't tell. 

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