Jennifer’s Climate Story


Jennifer Porter


Green Bay, WI 54303

How are you sensing climate change?

I am sensing nearly unbearably hot and humid summers even in Wisconsin, too little snow in winter, and too many bitter cold winter days.

How do these changes make you feel?

My tennis racquet languishes in the garage. Last used perhaps 15 years ago, it was abandoned after a game because it was too hot outside, and I “overdid” it. Perhaps I could play at night, when it is cooler, but cool summer nights are now a rarity. Even in my home state of Wisconsin, summer’s heat and humidity remain at night too. That heat-humidity combination is sufficient to ensure that exertion such as tennis on a summer night would leave me exhausted with a headache. My golf clubs languish in the garage next to the tennis racquet. When someone suggests golf, I am filled with dread of the Midwestern fairway: former farmland baking in the sun, its puny trees a mere afterthought. After too many bouts of heatstroke and dehydration, spending several hours on a course with little shade has become a terrifying prospect. My bicycle languishes in the basement. I ride it a few times each spring on overcast days. Even so, I wind up with sunburn and am frequently surprised by how difficult the humidity makes it for me to catch my breath. Since summer’s mornings are rarely cool these days, the bike mostly stays in the basement. My canoe likely languishes in someone else’s garage. I sold the fiberglass beauty and all my canoeing accoutrement after there were two straight years in which my beloved class-three rapids were barely class -one. It is stunning to what degree a poor snowfall affected the ability for my canoe to flow in July. I grew weary of carrying the canoe through muddy spots that used to flow freely. My kayak languishes at my aunt’s lake home. When I finally make it to the lake, I am often reluctant to head onto the water. The lake now frequently hosts algae blooms and other mysteries that make my skin red and itchy. The seaweed growth is often out of control and attributed to lower water levels. Sometimes the beautiful lake smells fishy–or worse. I languish on my couch while the racquet, the clubs, the bicycle, the canoe, and the kayak beckon me. I ignore their calls as I battle the discomfort of summer’s heat. I sit on the couch growing older, fatter, and more distant from nature. I miss the days that I could leave my windows open and be cooled by a summer breeze. Now the air hovers, full of pollen, its humidity holding it in place, while waiting for rain that never seems to come. Should the rain arrive, it fails to provide cooling relief. It seems to create greater stickiness in the air. I close the windows at the first sign of summer, turn on the air conditioning, and hope against hope for a temperate autumn like those of my youth. Temperate autumn comes, lasts approximately two days, and is replaced by a winter with too little snowfall and too many days of bitter cold. I languish and hope on my couch while ignoring the truth that the earth is languishing too.

A bicycle parked in the outdoors on a sunny day





Green Bay, WI 54303, USA

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