Olivia’s Climate Story
How are you sensing climate change?
My whole life has been spent by Lake Winnebago. My parents’ home sits across from it and as a kid, I often ran through my neighbor’s yard to get to the cool water. As a kid, I spent winters ice fishing with my family and summers kayaking with my friends. As a kid, I never thought to notice how the lake was being affected. Now, I have an acute awareness of how climate change has influenced it.
You’d never think that such a small portion of the world can change from something that “doesn’t happen in the Midwest”, but eventually, you can start to see the minor changes to your environment. Over the years, I’ve noticed the summers getting warmer and the winters getting shorter and all around the weather is more unpredictable. Even the lake itself is changing. The winters used to breed thick ice from early December to mid-March, but now, I realize that the ice doesn’t stay on the lake for nearly as long. This year I think it froze in early January, but the ice is already starting to melt on certain parts of the lake and it’s barely the end of February. The sheer force of the wind moves the ice shoves easily above the water, but the piles are never as high as they once were. My friends and I would climb the mountain of glass ice until we could see above most trees. Now, I’d be scared to go on the little shoves unless it was the middle of the cold season.
The summer months are warmer than they’ve been in the past years too. I remember playing softball at Lakeside Park and the weather was constantly in the mid-eighties. Now summers are in the high nineties, making summer sports sticky with the newcome humidity. The storms aren’t as predicable as they used to be either. The lake was always so calm when I was growing up, but now the days where the water is ”like glass” are few and far between. Major rainstorms come in and leave flooded fields in their wake and eventually, the field water makes its way into Winnebago. But the fields don’t account for all of the lake pollution because microplastics are being found within it, making it horrible to ingest.
I remember in high school, everyone would say that climate change wasn’t real and even if it was, it wouldn’t affect our small lake-bound town. But the more I grow into an adult, the more I can see clearly that they were just scared of admitting there was an actual problem approaching.
How do these changes make you feel?
Extremely sad knowing that the things I enjoyed as a child aren’t as enjoyable anymore because the weather is either bitingly cold or too hot to be enjoyable.
Taycheedah, WI 54935, USA
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