Stop, listen, think, talk

January and February were enough to tempt snowbirds to not go south for the winter. With all due respect to skiers and snowmobilers, most of us probably really enjoyed the warm weather. When the temperatures huddle in the 30s and 40s in the heart of the winter, it takes the heart out of the winter.
Another real blessing, and especially for low-income people, was the savings on heating bills. It would be interesting to do an objective survey for the purpose of calculating what percent of the population prefer warm weather with less snow compared to those who like colder weather and more snow. There is another side to the issue of winter weather. People who depend upon the snow to pay for expensive snowplowing equipment and making a living must have struggled this year. Perhaps there are usually two sides to most issues.
Actually, in this case, there seems to be a three-sided coin. Some people used our warm weather as an argument for global warming. A few of the editorials in newspapers made an issue of our weather as evidence.
The result of this global warming that we are enjoying, so goes the argument, is killing the polar bear due to melting ice sheets. If the ice sheets get smaller, the polar bears drown because their normal swim patterns are disrupted due to increased distance of open water. Although they are one of the world’s most powerful swimming mammals, distance is a limitation.
Now it is true that the surface of planet earth is warming. It is true that the ice sheets and polar ice caps are decreasing in size at an increasing rate. It is true that polar bears are dying due to drowning because of the increase distance between ice sheets. However this has absolutely nothing to do with the warm weather we are experiencing this year in Minnesota.
Parts of Europe and northern Asia had an extremely cold winter this year. In Antarctica, cold and excessive snow fall has been the pattern the last couple of years. So what is the point of this discussion? Certainly the world has been experiencing some unusual weather patterns. Only an objective and scientific approach should be the basis for theories and conclusions.
Temperatures are taken all over the earth. This data is fed into computers to give a total average earth temperatures at any given time. The result is that this can be coordinated with shrinking ice caps and sheets, ocean water levels, dying polar bears, etc. Warm weather in the upper midwest or cold weather in Russia is for the most part irrelevant. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest because of the trees around us.
People sometimes say to me, “You are a science guy, what do you think about these editorials?” My response is that they apparently never had a really good science course. Are we not all guilty of this kind of thinking in some areas of our lives?
It is easy to have different opinions based on subjective perspective, faulty data or illogical calculations and conclusions. The New Testament writer, the Apostle James, said that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak. In our daily lives, his advice can be real wisdom.
Whether it be warm Minnesota weather, global warming, local or state politics or community affairs, perhaps God would be more pleased with me if I listened more, thought better and talked less. Oh yea, I would be more scientific too.
For the ‘06 Club April 2 takes us to Judges 9 and Luke 8.
Have a good ear-using week.

Crist Langelett, known to North St. Paul and Maplewood readers as a longtime Review columnist, is a chaplain for the North St. Paul city, police and fire departments, a chaplain at Washington County Jail, a past president of the North St. Paul Area Emergency Food Shelf and one of the founders of North St. Paul’s Polar Arena. He is active in his local church and in civic groups.

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