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El Niño

BY Sonny Orr Feb 26, 2024

Now that the world’s attention seems to be more focussed on global warming, let’s see how that theory works in the North. Here warmth is something that happens once or twice during the summer and not in the middle of winter like this year.

Global warming, what do I know? How does my little speck on this planet have any effect or noticeable events that can confirm this theory? Well, I guess for starters, there isn’t a drivable winter road to Whapmagoostui. 

These days, winter can’t be relied on to produce thick ice “in time” to make it worthwhile to transport items like building supplies, groceries, vehicles – or most importantly, hockey and broomball players – during the month of February. 

Global warming you say?

A modern snowmobile screeches by as it passes over the dry paved road and onto a gravel pathway before reaching some snow or ice. Minutes later, plumes of smoke rise from the new machine, as the owner wails that his snow scratchers aren’t putting enough snow on the cooling mechanisms of his snowmobile. 

Why? Because there isn’t enough snow or ice around because of global warming, duh.

Last summer was quite the doozy because of the rampant forest fires, which were set off by some pyromaniac in the middle of Quebec. Now can that be blamed on global warming? Let’s see, the ponds, lakes and rivers were at all-time low levels, mainly because the electricity demand from the south put strains on the storage capacity of one of the world’s largest hydro generating facilities.

Why? Because it was so hot and dry making it damn near impossible to spit out dust and smoke debris, from global warming. I hear that this summer will be a repeat of last year, minus the pyromaniacs hopefully.

Arriving in record flocks, the spring geese concentrated their migration times to only a few solid days, just to get the mother goose far enough north to lay some golden eggs. Sadly, many of them decided to stay in the south year-round, giving rise to a new species of waterfowl – the urban goose and backyard duck that are now normal for the south. 

Why? Because global warming made migration redundant as temperatures don’t vary as much from the south to the north. Plus, all those fires made living in the forest and swampy lands less desirable, etcetera, etcetera.

The new tourist, someone from the sweaty tropical zone south of 55, is now looking towards the North to cool down and hopefully settle in an area that isn’t at war or under civil strife, or doesn’t have poor living conditions and standards, or isn’t crazy hot that you go insane from heat stroke. 

Why? Because global warming and population distress makes our True North strong and free. It’s the next frontier to grab and settle because your ice cream cone doesn’t melt so quickly that you mistake it for a milkshake. Why? Because of global warming.

If it seems that I am wrong with all these assumptions, it’s because I am now fully programmed to accept another excuse why the world is going to hell in a basket of bannock. If I choose to believe it, I should be able to cook that bannock on our new paved roads, because that’s how hot it’s going to get. I recommend adding a slice of baloney to that to make something good coming from this global warming crisis.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.