A Means to Distract From Climate Change
As a former Starbucks barista, the first days of September meant only one thing: PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES (or the beloved acronym “PSL”). Before anyone judges, I am an avid pumpkin lover. Pumpkin pie is life, pumpkin brownies are bliss, and pumpkin mac and cheese is a must try! However, I am no PSL fan partly because I detest flavours in my lattes and partly because I did more jumping than my 5’3.5” self needed to in order to press a lever to release the pumpkin flavouring.
You see, September ushers in this marvelous season of Autumn where we all get nostalgic feels of Halloween candy wrappers, get to don on jackets again, and best of all, see the leaves change colour. Lately, I have heard one too many complaints about the fact that this weekend was simply too cold. It was 18 degrees but it was frigid. I fell into the trap of thinking “it’s so cold!” and scurrying to the closest Starbucks to get warmth. There I was reminded of the good ol’ days of coming home smelling like pumpkin spice whipped cream. We are all so excited for the turn of the season (at least in a consumerist way), for our lattes and pumpkin goodies, that we do not think for a moment of the implications of that drastic change of weather. Climate change’s slow, stealthy ninja moves have made a small show to us where we have experienced the worst Ontarian drought since the 1960’s. All have caught a summer cold because of overnight temperatures fluctuating drastically, and certain produce (especially berries) were difficult to come by. See, climate change impacts all our lives but we need to pay attention to it. It is not something that randomly emerges, rearing its fugly (yes that is a word) head, but rather slowly seeps into our lives, and we have lost some control. Humans have desired to conquer many a thing and wars of conquest for land and its resources are forever waged. I have my doubts that it will ever stop, but seeing how Nestle just outbid a small municipality attempt to secure the city’s water supply is a scary occurrence, wherein the needs of people are undermined for the sake of the corporation. Water will get scarce, electricity will desist, it will get so cold and then so hot there is no ability to acclimatize.
I miss Autumn. I miss the time where as a child I could sense the seasons change and now all I sense is “IT’S SO COLD RIGHT NOW YESTERDAY IT WAS BOILING”. It is sad that our attention is geared towards getting our caffeine on but not to our individualized contributions to climate change. To some extent, we have all diffused responsibility for utilizing fossil fuels. We think that our small amount of fossil fuel use is insignificant to the “greater” problems of industrial use of oil and gas. Sure, those are sources of great pollution. However, there are far more people out there thinking that their contribution is tiny, and continue without a second thought than there are industrial plants. Hence, collectively we are contributing to these changes, and we must try to abate our thirst for diesel. Climate change is a great example of the Current Bias Theory or Hyperbolic Discontinuity, in which the far away consequences of climate change are delayed but will be felt before we know it. Now, I am not saying that drinking your PSL is bad for the environment and your well-being (except that it literally DOES come out of a massive plastic container). All I am saying is that we need to recognize that yes, PSLs are a thing, but so too is Autumn. Maybe, if we shift our attitudes a smidge, we can see this wondrous season return – just a little bit.
And everyone, try pumpkin mac and cheese. It is a must.