How a simple poll about snow explains atrocities | Opinion | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Halifax is forecast to have its least snowy year ever in 2023, and people are thrilled.

How a simple poll about snow explains atrocities

Explaining human inaction in the face of apocalypse.

In this week’s Coast reader poll, we asked about the weather. Specifically snow, and the lack thereof. Given that “Halifax has been very warm so far this winter and meteorologists say the city is on track to have its least snowy year ever,” we put the question to you: “Are you happy there’s less snow than usual?” And the answer is a clear yes.

At The Coast’s site and on Twitter, fully 60% of poll respondents think snow is a drag. The numbers switched on the Instagram version of the poll, where 54% of people self-identified as Team Snow and said no, they’re not happy about snowfall’s downfall. But averaging across the three polls, the majority feeling is that the best kind of snow is no snow. Which at one level is a reasonable response in a city that’s proven itself so inept at dealing with snowy weather.

Then again, snow drought is really bad. Snow drought is, or can be, an indication that groundwater reservoirs—the things that wells require to function—are in danger of running out and are often an indication that a proper summer drought is on the way. No wonder some people, a small but noticeable fraction, chose the poll’s option of “I don’t know enough to say.”

The interesting thing about this poll is that it demonstrates the dichotomy of the human experience. The Nova Scotia government commissioned a study that was published in December 2022. It says quite clearly that one of the dangers associated with climate change is more rain and less snow (page 18 of the report, page 23 of the PDF). And yet, the majority is celebrating the lack of snow.

Zooming out on this poll really highlights the absurdity of humanity. We often look at tragedies of the past to help explain our present condition. There is a subsection of people, normally men, who like to proclaim that if called upon, even in the face of extreme danger, we would put our lives on the line and do the right thing. If Germany invaded Poland today, we’d be on the front line tomorrow.

But climate change won’t have the same clean demarcation as the Second World War. We know that climate change is making the planet worse. We know that we humans are responsible for climate change. We know that our cars and how we use them are a fairly sizable chunk of pollution. Most of us believe that when push comes to shove we’ll do the right thing. But the sad reality is we’ll choose the convenience of a drive-thru to save two minutes in our busy lives, even though it’s helping condemn our children to a climate apocalypse. And survey says most of us think that’s awesome.

About The Author

Matt Stickland

Matt spent 10 years in the Navy where he deployed to Libya with HMCS Charlottetown and then became a submariner until ‘retiring’ in 2018. In 2019 he completed his Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King’s College. Matt is an almost award winning opinion writer.

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