April 2009 Archives
It was a couple years ago when former U.S. vice president Al Gore released his film “An Inconvenient Truth” which was all about the impending and undeniable risk of climate change, that there were a couple David Suzuki followers in Canada – Olympic athletes – who declared that global warming was indeed real because when they were young they use to be able to have a skating rink in the back yard in winter, and now it was so warm that they couldn’t. And these were seasoned 25 year olds, testifying to the reality of global warming.
Well I am sitting here in Calgary, as a seasoned 57-year-old, almost on May 1, 2009, with snow in the front yard, watching the forecast for more snow, wet snow, and flurries and day-time high temperatures of two degrees, and I’m thinking “I’m supposed to go fishing tomorrow, I better let my truck run for a while because obviously we’re not getting enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over Alberta to contribute to this whole warming trend”.
Yes, call me a skeptic. But as my learned colleague Camrose-area farmer Gerald Pilger pointed out the other day how can we be sure the current weather we are experiencing isn’t a factor of weather variation as opposed to climate change?
I know you can find any type of research on the internet to support you’re view on any subject, so I locked on to this one that said “Global warming is changing the world we know and love. But in fact, the Earth's climate has changed many times - especially in the last two million years, when a series of ice ages has wreaked havoc worldwide.” And that wasn’t even written by by Canadian climatologist and global-warming contrarian Tim Ball.
Friend Doug Burnard, of London, Ontario emailed me yesterday to say he was sorry to hear about the snow in Alberta, but he didn’t have time to talk further because he had to clean up after playing a game of golf in 25 C weather. Another friend Andrew Douglas in Guleph, sent me a gruesome photo of his face, supposedly with a sunburn suffered after sitting on his deck having lunch. These are not well-intentioned people.
So over the next few days, if it doesn’t snow too much I might be fishing. I also plan to help my brother-in-law process calves this weekend at Fort Steele, B.C. and my wife is urging me to pack my long underwear. At the same time we also will take our golf clubs just in case a warm day strikes.
Yes, I am all over this global warming thing. I would just like to talk to a couple people who lived through the last two million years to find out what sort of trends they observed before and after the “series of ice ages”. You can read all you want, but it is listening to that first hand experience that really counts.
Have you been Tweeting today? I feel like I’m in an episode of Star Wars and I have just gone over to the Dark Side. Yes, I joined Twitter and I have Tweeted.
As much as I scoffed at the notion of becoming involved in ‘social networking’, I have been compelled to check out this Twitter business. What is it and why is it important to me? I can’t answer either question yet, but I signed up and not only did I send a Tweet, but I got my first Tweet back from Lori Creech a colleague who works at Alberta Beef Producers. Thank you Lori…I now feel like a human being.
If you thought email was contemporary, get with the times. Twitter is part of a community of social networking web sites like Facebook. You go to the Twitter internet website, sign up or register (for free) and within seconds you can let the whole socially connected world know what you are doing that minute. Important stuff like - I am just sitting here having a coffee, I am writing this note rather than working, I am enjoying a nice sunny day, I am picking my nose. – these are all useful insights into my daily life my friends in cyberspace have been waiting to read. If you are Barack Obama you could use Twitter to let the world know you have declared war on Iceland. It doesn’t have to be just a trite update on how big the pimple is on your left cheek.
Why is this important? I don’t know. I just know it is the way the world is going. It is a free social networking and micro-blogging service. If you are reading this you are reading my blog and while blogs are supposed to be short or shorter, Twitter messages are very limited. When you Tweet (which is what they call a Twitter message) they are limited to 140 characters, which is about 30 words which is roughly the length of the first paragraph I used to start this blog. That’s all you get. But you can log on as often as you want in a day and tell people what you are up to at that moment.
Who cares? My friends do. I am now part of a network of roughly five million people world wide and interest in Twitter over the last couple years has grown – get this – it has grown by roughly 1382 percent. Facebook on the other hand is dragging its butt with growth of only 228 percent.
Who else is on Twitter? Pretty well anyone who is anybody. Politicians, entertainment celebrities, The Queen and The Pope (not that I really know, but I threw them in). But in the first couple minutes I was on Twitter I found several people I know. Janet Kanters with the Beef Information Centre, Shaun Haney a farmer and columnist for Grainews from Picture Butte AB, Lori Creech, and even my old Country Guide Magazine buddy Peter Gredig from St. Thomas Ontario is now Tweeting. And I now know what these and other people were doing the moment they Tweeted.
It is very empowering.
I remember about 25 years ago when I worked for Alberta Agriculture, I came to work one day to find people huddle around this new high tech piece of equipment called a facsimile machine. And I thought ‘oh for cripes sake, how many people are going to use this?”
See what kind of vision I had then? Well I’m not going to be caught with my cyber pants down again as a late blooming Twitterer. I’m up near the front of this wave with five million other socially connected folks. And right now I am feeling pretty Phat. (that could be a misspelling for someone who has to lose a few pounds, but in this case I thought I would really get hip and contemporary. Phat is a slang term used by my bros from the ‘hood to describe someone who is entertaining, intelligent and attractive. What can I say – if the shoe fits.)
I also know if a producer is reading this blog before he rushes off to process calves before turn out onto pasture, or is trying to get the air seeder ready for seeding season, he or she is probably thinking here is an old fart with way too much time on his hands.
But, I don’t care because I’m Phat. And you can take that any way you want.
So Tweet me.