A Climate Ambush

Why? Why? Why?: A May 24 snowstorm buried cars and closed schools in Newfoundland.
Why? Why? Why?: A May 24 snowstorm buried cars and closed schools in Newfoundland.

I’m a great believer in climate change. All Newfoundlanders are. It is a consideration for all of us even deeper than fact. As Robertson Davies, one of Canada’s finest fictionists, might have put the matter, it is bred in the bone. And how could it be otherwise? You could start from the days when John Cabot, seeking a route to the fabled Cathay, blunderingly landed in Bonavista, and work your way right up to Thursday, and you would not find two consecutive days when the weather was consistent. “No two days the same” should be the provincial motto. “Tomorrow will certainly be worse” should be the followup.

Meteorologically speaking, Newfoundland is end point on the diversity graph. We have more weather per square inch every single day (and most of it squalid, though you will not know that from those brightly hued and inventive Newfoundland tourist commercials that seduce so many sad mainlanders to our fog-heaven shores) than all the remote kingdoms and statelets of our otherwise blue planet.

It is an enduring puzzle to me why the International Panel on Climate Change, instead of jetting off to Rio and Paris and Copenhagen — all of them centred in ridiculously stable climates — to hold their jumbo séances and fire dances to the climate gods, don’t just schedule one say, in Gander. (Not Torbay in St. John’s — let’s give them a chance.) The “case” for climate change would have its Q.E.D.s and eurekas! even before they landed. They’d be circling the airport and flying back and forth to Halifax for days before there was a break in the clouds, a halt in the wind and rain, or a space between blizzards to allow them to land.

Getting in and out of Newfoundland by air is a kind of Lotto 649 played with tears and air miles. The arrival board at the St. John’s International Airport has an entire space for Do You Miss Me Yet? notes.

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