We've been in a cold snap this past week, at least as close to a cold snap as we can be in Arizona. After a storm so powerful even Ironman contestants were afraid to hop into Tempe Town Lake (who wouldn't be), Arizona is permanently 10 degrees cooler.
The colder temperatures are welcome, but I'm out here shaking like a leaf in moderate weather. We're still in what any East Coaster would call summer, but the difference between 60 and 70 degrees is like the Caribbean and Antarctica when your body makeup is a 90% match to a lizard's.
Last week's storm aside, Arizonans look forward to clear skies ahead. So clear, in fact, that I have a suspicion we can expect much more consistent temperatures from now on. Well, less of a suspicion and more like decades of climate science. Expect wildfires in the streets and never-ending drought in the coming days. It is now consistently the apocalypse!
Arizona residents have surely seen the classic Smokey the Bear fire danger indicators around the state, but what locals don't know is that there's an unofficial sixth category of danger, beyond "Very High." Parks and Recreation employees, it's time to dust off your "Hell Hath Risen" signs and fireproof suits — the Bear doesn't know what's about to hit him.
We'll spend a few months cooking in this fiery inferno, and then just as the smoke clears, before we even have a chance to forge a bartering-based economy for rations, the floods will begin. You'd think we'd be grateful, but apparently dumping tons of water onto drought-ridden land actually makes things worse?
Experts are saying we should get used to extreme weather fluctuations as climate change steadily makes our planet uninhabitable, but I'd like to say we have a chance at saving ourselves. ASU is carbon neutral! Renewable energy is on the rise! Democrats have the House! … until they lose it. Cars are becoming electric! Cars … are becoming electric? They do know that's not the problem, right? We've got to be kidding ourselves. All that really matters is how buoyant a raft those electric cars will make when Arizona becomes a coastal state.
Temperatures in Arizona have risen 2.5 degrees since 1901. That might not seem like a lot, but think of it this way: If an asteroid were barreling toward the earth and we had the chance to push it just two degrees to the left, saving the world, they'd start to seem much more important.
So, we remain at this crossroads. A fork in the road leading to utter destruction or sustainable living, and as obvious as that choice sounds, we've been debating walking toward utter destruction for the past 50 years.
It's a daunting task, trying to save the planet. But as of right now, it's all we can do. And though you, dear reader, are likely not a billionaire oil tycoon, there are small steps we can take to add a few more weeks to the countdown. Staying informed, voting wisely and holding large waste-contributing companies accountable are ways that we regular folk can make a difference. But on the off-chance you are a billionaire oil tycoon, I hope you feel pretty stupid right now.
Edited by Sadie Buggle, David Rodish, Grace Copperthite and Piper Hansen.
Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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