This is another episode of our Blog Action Day posts about Climate Change.
I’m a huge sports fan. Huge. Like on the level that teenage girls were obsessed with the Backstreet Boys back in the day, and like the level that most of those folks are now on about "Twilight". As a sports obsessed youth growing up in Wisconsin, there are few images that get force fed to you more than that of Bart Starr crossing the goal line during the "Ice Bowl".
Needless to say, this play was recreated roughly 3,457 times in our backyard growing up with all of my brothers and sisters decked out in their winter gear. Having our own "frozen tundra" was fun for us, and a great relief for the parents when we’d come back in from running around like crazy, each of us totally exhausted. We all embraced the cold weather games, both at Lambeau and in our backyard. The mystique, the challenge of the cold, and the toughness it took to overcome, made us all feel like our team and ourselves were made out of tougher stuff that those folks who journeyed up from the warmth of the south, or played their games indoors.
But what does my story of backyard football glory, living vicariously through professional athletes, and a flashback to a sporting event from decades before have to do with climate change? Well, lets start with this image from a study done by the Nature Conservancy:
Yes, you may look at these projections for temperature increases by the year 2050 and begin to think about the impact on the important agricultural sectors in these states and other very important things, but the sports fan in me looks at this and thinks, "NO! The Packers are going to lose all semblance of a home field advantage!" What will happen to the "frozen tundra"? The fog of the breath passing through the facemasks? The opposing team huddled around space heaters? The blaze orange dotting the stands? Then I came across Wisconsin Environment’s recent analysis and it confirmed my panic:
· All 14 cold-weather teams’ cities saw an increase in winter temperatures from 2000-2007 as compared to the previous thirty years.
· The Green Bay Packers had the largest temperature increase during the last seven seasons, a 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit increase as compared to the previous thirty years. This is significant in comparison to the next highest temperature rise of only 2.9 degrees.
That’s just downright scary people. The thought of a team from Tampa or Jacksonville not feeling downright terrified in the upper midwest in November and December… sickening.
There is more to my sports climate change concern than just the Green Bay Packers. Now that I’ve been in Minnesota for 5+ years and adopted it as my home, I’ve also had to adopt new sports and teams like the the Wild and the Gophers into the fold (though I will never ditch the Packers…ever. You hear that Brett?). The climate of Minnesota, at least the ones not controlled by a thermostat and a dome, plays a huge role in most of these. With these projections, what will happen to the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis? Do we annex part of Canada and keep moving north as the temperatures rise? I don’t think so. What happens to the AMOSIL Snocross Series? Slow and wet tracks make for slow snow machines people. The Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza wouldn’t be exempt either, folks.
These things are important to communities across this state. We all have to push our leaders to take action now. For the sake of the Packers, pond hockey championships, ice fishing extravaganzas, the Packers, backyard snow football, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, curling, the Packers, the snocross series, and community outdoor ice rinks. Help protect the things that make our state great by taking part in an action on October 24th, the international date of climate change actions with 350.org, and spread the word.