Species such as largemouth bass will thrive in the warming waters of the Adirondacks.
I grew up in a one-car family. At the time, most families had only one car. My parents owned a Rambler station wagon, and it was a two-wheel drive vehicle. Jeep’s had four-wheel drive, but they were known as ‘Army jeeps’, nothing like the comfortable SUV jeeps of today.
Snow tires, and chains were the only cold weather options, but most people simply slowed down, and they were more cautious. I guess they just weren’t in such a hurry all the time.
We watched TV, even though there were only three channels, and most TV sets were black and white. We also listened to the radio often, but our stereo was reserved for special occasions.
If we wanted to change channel, or turn up volume, we had to get out of the chair and turn a knob. Remote control devices hadn’t yet been invented. Oddly, people didn’t seem to mind getting out of the chair every once and a while.
Kids were more fidgety then, they simply couldn’t sit still. There were always pickup ball games to attend, or rough and tumble games like Red Rover or Capture the Flag. On occasion, somebody would get hurt, with a skinned knee, or a fat lip, but nobody ever got sued. First aid, when applied with cookies, and ice cream, can cure everything!
We also played with matches, ran with scissors, and went swimming immediately after eating, and nobody ever drowned. Even after living through such perilous times, I managed to survive childhood unscathed, with both eyes intact and a full set of teeth.
Back then, we were taught to respect our elders. If you were a smart-aleck, an adult could cuff you in the backside of your head, and no one could be accused of child abuse. We knew the Board of Education, was made of solid pine!
Milk bottles were the only bottles we recycled. They had to be returned, or else the milkman wouldn’t know how many to replace, in the tin box on our front porch.
Admittedly, times were different, back then. I was smaller, the world was larger, and communities were much closer. We knew everyone in ‘our neighborhood’, and it seems that everyone belonged to a neighborhood.
Neighbors, and neighborhoods were an important component of growing up. In a fashion, as they watched you grow, they provided a sounding board with essential feedback, good or bad. You always knew where you stood, since sounding boards were made out of pine as well.
Back then; the world seemed to turn at a much slower pace than it does today. The future always appeared to be bright. We were living in the ‘space age’, and we were on the cusp of realizing a better life. We were going to be as comfortable as George Jetson, and his boy Leroy! The future was the place where we all wanted to be!
I tend to wax nostalgic, whenever I am confronted with another piece of stressful information from the current day. It may be an effort to escape to a quieter, safer place, when our only major threat was being attacked by the Soviet Union.
My most recent stress was delivered via a recent NY Times interview with Jerry Jenkins. Jenkins, who is on the staff of the Wildlife Conservation Association, in Saranac Lake, is an accomplished naturalist, climate scientist and a noted author.
His publication, Climate Change in the Adirondacks: The Path to Sustainability provides a disturbing snapshot of what’s to come. His predictions for the climate impacts on the Adirondacks are disturbing. Unfortunately, we can’t prepare for them, by hiding under the desk or cowering in a hallway.
Jenkins is an old friend; I trust him, and his science. Explaining the potential changes ahead, he recently told the NY Times, “Nothing we see here (in an Adirondack boreal bog) is found at temperatures 10 degrees warmer, and very little makes it to five degrees warmer. We will be in a climate that this (natural) community has never known in its history.”
If the projections are accurate, the Adirondacks could see average temperatures rise by as much as nine degrees by the 2080s. As a result, the local woods and waters would have climate zone comparable to the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia. There would be no moose, no pine martin and no brook trout.
The Adirondack landscape would be far different, and so would the natural inhabitants. Such information makes me wish there was still only one car in the driveway, and just three channels on the TV.
At this point in time, I’d gladly trade all of the fancy four wheel drive vehicles, and the 500 channel networks, for just a few of snow-days that I enjoyed, during the long, cold winters of my youth. 2011: Ditto the remarkable remarks listed above.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org