Weeds, Layoffs, Crime, and Skunks

What do overgrown weeds, layoffs, increased crime rates and the untimely mating of skunks have in common?  They are all the cause of our warm winter.  It certainly has been a tame winter this year especially by comparison to seasons past in SRU.  It has been said that it is the second warmest on record, as stated by the most reliable of sources; the Colbert Report. 

Biologists are saying that the warm winter will cause a number of problems later in the year.  The weeds and insects will get a head start while the trees and plants are going to suffer.  The warm spells can cause the plants to lose their ability to fight the cold.   Additionally, it has led to some animals, namely skunks, to come out to mate earlier.  This could mean a spring and summer filled with weeds, mosquitoes, and skunks. 

The weather has also been attributed to at least one case of workers being laid off.  Workers in a salt mine in Windsor, Ontario have been losing work due to the decreased demand for salt.  In New York City the mild winter is being blamed for their recent increase in crime rate.  According to the NY Daily News, crime rates across the city are up 5.7% from last year at this time.  This proves that even criminals hate the cold. 

However, this warm weather has some benefits.  It has led to significantly lower heating bills.  If nothing else, it has made me realize that the cold snow that I have despised in the past is beneficial to the environment and necessary for our eco-system to maintain its delicate balance.  The mild winter almost has me wish I could enjoy the snow like they do at the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan.  The festival, which lasts only seven days, is known for its massive snow sculptures.  The monolithic sculptures have grown in size each year since the festival began in 1950.  The festival was started by some high school students who wanted to enjoy the snow while it was there.  Hopefully, I can capture that spirit before I complain about the cold next time it snows.

-Chris Kite


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