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The Good Press - Issue #45: Weather

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The Good Press

February 24 · Issue #45 · View online

A newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind


The climate crisis is making severe weather rear its ugly head more often, and that’s meant a whole lot of ice and snow across the United States this winter. On weathering the storms we’re all facing today and weathering the storms to come.

Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press, a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind.
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The neighbor's roof's ice has evolved from ice dams to ice fangs, which seems ominous
The neighbor's roof's ice has evolved from ice dams to ice fangs, which seems ominous
Weather
One of the smallest, most insignificant things I never realized that I miss these days is just shooting the breeze with someone about the weather.
“Looks like we’re getting some rain this weekend, huh?”
“Yep, looks like it.”
“…”
“Anyway, good seeing you”
[Exit stage left]
Nevertheless, small talk about the weather is pretty interesting these days.
Snowy, icy weather has had a heavy presence here where I’m at for much of February this year. We’re some of the lucky ones, though, compared to many other places. We’re fortunate to have not lost power or water from any weather we’ve had this winter (tempting fate even publishing that, but oh well).
So far this winter, I’ve helped a couple of cars get unstuck from the ice and snow, and I’ve had help getting my car unstuck once as well. I’ve been driving a two-wheel-drive car for five winters now, and this is the first time I’ve really regretted not getting another all-wheel-drive vehicle, as I had back in college.
Before this winter, I was unaware of the existence of ice dams nor roof rakes. I’m familiar now. Ice is nothing to mess with, and out here where you don’t have salt trucks going up and down the roads, it can be downright menacing.
So stay warm, stay safe, and stay healthy wherever you’re reading this from.
Between the inclement weather and the continuing fight against COVID-19, it’s been a rough winter in America, no matter where you’re residing today.
We passed the 500,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths threshold in America this week. That’s half a million lives cut tragically too short, in what may end up as the worst mass casualty event in American history once the ink is dry, likely worse than any war, and in a fraction of the timespan of other crises.
I think about how lucky I am every day. How fortunate I am to have shelter, a roof over my head, food on my table, gas in my gas tank, money in the bank when so many people are weathering these crises with less than what I have. Sure, things could be better. But I can’t complain. The most important thing is weathering these storms (the ones we can see and the ones we can’t) so that when we make it to the other side, we can seize the day like never before.
And when we get to the other side of COVID-19? Well, I’m afraid these extreme weather events are not going to get less frequent or less severe. That’s the unfortunate reality of a climate crisis that is already wreaking havoc all over the world and threatens to get worse if serious action isn’t taken. Special Presidental Envoy for Climate John Kerry recently made comments that caused a stir, speaking to the urgency of the task at hand.
Elaborating on John Kerry’s claim that "we have nine years left" to avert the climate emergency
While “we have nine years left!” is an oversimplification that the Washington Post fact-checked thoroughly in the link above, there’s no doubt that the fate of the future of our planet is the greatest challenge of our lifetimes. It’s high time that world leadership treats it like the emergency it is while we still can.
As Penn State University climate scientist Michael E. Mann said in the story linked above, to use a highway analogy, “We want to get off the earliest exit we can. But if we missed the 1.5C exit, we still work like heck to get off at the 2C exit.”
Another climate scientist in that article, Daniel Swain of UCLA, offered his interpretation of what Kerry could’ve more accurately stated, saying, “The scientists have been telling us for decades that we need to act as fast as possible to avert the worst consequences of climate change. Despite that, substantive action has been delayed so long that we’re now bearing witness to the harm caused by warming that has already occurred in communities around the world. It is still well within our power to turn the tide, slowing and eventually halting global warming by bringing our net carbon emissions to zero. But we have to act now to prevent ever greater societal harm and disruption in the coming years and decades.”
In Other Words
We can’t blame this rough winter on whether the groundhog saw his shadow.
It’s up to all of us to pitch in and do our part to leave this world better and more beautiful than it was when we inherited it. People in power and large corporations have a much bigger influence on the climate than you or I, but every bit counts. Science News wrote about the impact of everyday things:
What lifestyle changes will shrink your carbon footprint the most? | Science News
What we weather and how we weather it each day goes beyond what the thermometer says. It’s also about how we cope with what’s happening, and that, too, is more than just how many layers of clothing we’re putting on.
I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve had struggles at times with my mental and emotional well-being recently, as I’m sure many people have. I’m so grateful for my loving fiancée, my rock, who always gives me strength when I need it. Having a partner like her is so uplifting, most especially when I feel down.
All of this stress and pressure can weather us, but we cannot let it defeat us.
There’s nothing wrong with taking breaks from the news or your to-do list or anything else that feels like a burden, especially if it’s something you can take a break from. Those with no choice but to endure it can’t afford such luxury.
Decompressing any way you can is so important. Do not take it for granted.
I’m so grateful for my fiancée’s support. So grateful I can hug her tight when a phone call or a video chat has to suffice for so many others. It always puts me in a good mood to speak to my parents and other loved ones, but my heart goes out to everyone out there who’s unable to hug and be hugged right now.
Week after week, the number of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to increase. Slowly but surely we’ll get to a place that feels a little more normal.
Until then? Take care of yourself in every way you can. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to take a breather now and then. We’re not built to be constantly plugged in and revved up and burdened 24/7. Do what feels good.
Parting Thoughts
Speaking of a breath of fresh air, I was stunned on Tuesday afternoon when I happened to be monitoring the New York City vaccination website when a large batch of COVID-19 vaccination appointments was made available.
That meant that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to book first-dose vaccination appointments for my fiancée and her parents, and after a few minutes of deliberation, I made an appointment for myself as well.
Since January, New York State residents over 65 years old have been eligible to make appointments, and as of February 15, people under 65 with certain qualifying medical conditions are also eligible. That meant that my fiancée and her parents have been eligible and frantically attempting to book their appointments, but until Tuesday afternoon, we had been unsuccessful.
My moments of deliberation on whether to make an appointment for myself came down to the fact that I did not think I had any medical conditions that qualify under the guidelines, and I would not want to receive a vaccination ahead of someone else who is at a higher risk of severe illness that I would be.
On the other hand, many of the strict rules on vaccine distribution have led to vaccine waste, with unused doses being thrown out instead of distributed to others who are eligible but have not made appointments. Plus, the more people vaccinated, the more our communities will be protected. With that in mind, I decided to book an appointment for myself, because one of the qualifying medical conditions listed is obesity, defined clinically as a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher, as calculated by one’s height and weight.
Unfortunately for my ego (but fortunately for vaccination eligibility rules), I have fluctuated between a BMI of 28-31 or so for most of the last few years. I looked down at my pot belly flat tire that I’ve been grumbling at for years and I signed up for a vaccination appointment, and I printed out my personal medical records that show a recorded BMI of 30 at my most recent physical.
I’ve been trying my best to diet and exercise sufficiently enough to get rid of this extra flab, and frankly, I need to work even harder, that’s the bottom line. But for once, I’m not so despondent looking at that extra flab because it may be enough to help me reach the light at the end of this dark, year-long tunnel.
I think the fact that such a large batch of appointments was released this week means that the supply in New York City is starting to meet the demand, and I don’t feel guilty booking an appointment since I am technically eligible.
The more people fully vaccinated, the better. The faster I’m fully inoculated, the faster I can return fully to my workplace and pursue career opportunities that can help me better provide for my fiancée as we build our lives together.
I cannot say enough about the wonderful vaccination appointment finder, TurboVax, online at TurboVax.info, which publishes available appointments automatically as they become available. NYC residents should check it often.
So we’ll see what happens. If all goes to plan, my fiancée, her parents, and I will all get our first dose of the Moderna vaccine this upcoming Friday, with our second dose likely to be scheduled 28 days after that. Fingers crossed.
Once enough of the U.S. population is vaccinated, we’ll reach herd immunity status (a mark we’re estimated to reach nationwide by next winter or so) that will keep our entire community safe. That’s why it’s so important to try to get vaccinated ASAP so we can finally end this horrific pandemic once and for all.
Good luck to everyone out there trying to get their appointments. I look forward to updating you next week on how the process goes for us. Even after I am fully vaccinated, I still plan on wearing a mask in public places, and I think I’ll wear a mask each winter for the rest of my life because I appreciate the way the cloth masks keep my nose nice and warm when I’m digging my car out of the ice and snow. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Till next time,
-Jon
Previously in The Good Press
The Good Press - Issue #44: Adaptations
The Good Press - Issue #43: Decency
The Good Press - Issue #42: Accumulation
Catch up quick: The Good Press full online archive
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