What’s wrong with this picture?

The evidence is right before our eyes.

This is my pet Russian tortoise. Her name is Tort. Isn’t she beautiful?

Notice the time stamp, January 20, 2012. Normally, at this time of the year, Tort is buried underground, happily hibernating for the winter. She starts digging her hovel sometime in October/November as a response to cooler weather trends. Her goal is to maintain her body temperature at around 53°F.

Yet here she is, in late January, perfectly content to walk around and seek out yummies to eat. She hasn’t even started to burrow.

She hasn’t even begun to dig a burrow for herself. Frankly, there has been no reason for her to dig in. For the most part, we haven’t experienced nearly the cooling that we normally get. It seems to be significantly warmer this year than last. I have tomatoes and peppers growing in the garden. We really haven’t had the cold snap that usually destroys the vegetable garden. Yes, there was a span of a couple of days when we had to cover the plants. I had to bring Tort inside because she was unprepared for the cold weather. This was just a few days in December. Since then, the temperature has not been below 50 for any significant amount of time. According to the Weather Channel, we are unlikely to get a cold snap in the next ten days.

I would say that this is unusual weather, but last year we didn’t get a significant cold spell either. Tort dug in last year because there were some noticeable cooling trends, but my Maringa trees usually lose branches if there is a cold snap lasting any significant length of time. Last year I didn’t lose so much as the tip of a branch from my trees. Tort came out of hibernation in March rather than April.

I’m not a climate scientist. From what I’ve read from climate scientists, they are loath to conclude that any given weather event is caused by general trends. This is for sound scientific reasons. But it seems to me that the evidence is right in front of us. At some point we have to start confronting those who have their heads in the sand with regard to climate change. We should do this with scientific evidence, of course, but also the evidence of our own experience.

We really need to start pulling those heads out of the sand before it’s too late.

PS: This blog is written on January 28. Tort is out and walking around without a care in the world.

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