You could say that climate change has impacted me for years since it’s led to significant changes in my lifestyle. But, the first time that climate change disrupted my life directly was a few weeks ago at the American Birkebeiner cross country ski race.
The Birkie is the largest cross country ski race in North America with over 10,000 participants. My husband and I love participating in the half-Birkie which is 15 miles long. Looking forward to the race motivates me to stay healthy and active year round.
This year, the weather leading up to the race was unseasonably warm and rainy. Despite valiant attempts to save the course, the race was completely cancelled. We went to the starting line anyways which is where I got this picture. It’s tough to have a cross country ski race without snow.
Some people are happy that winters haven’t been as cold or snowy as usual. However it is imperative to look at the broader picture. For example, the small town of Hayward, WI depends on the Birkie for $20 million annually.
Cancellation of the Birkie is the first direct disruption that I’ve experienced due to climate change. It makes me reflect on people that have experienced far more serious disruptions such as rising oceans, ruined crops, and destructive storms. Climate change is a serious problem, and collectively we need to take serious actions to mitigate the crisis. With Al Gore’s book in mind: We have an opportunity to act, but whether or not we seize the opportunity is our choice.