It is -25˚C this morning in Whitehorse. Blowing snow swirls around the lone Raven hunched on the fencepost behind our frozen compost heap. With feathers fluffed out against the cold, it looks as big as a vulture. The Raven looks content, but it feels cold to me. Maybe I’m getting soft in this warming globe after an unusually mild December and January.
I went for a two-hour cross-country ski yesterday afternoon. The trees swayed in the wind, but the only other thing moving was a spruce grouse that indignantly flapped away from its comfortable roost beside the trail. Maybe it wasn’t really indignant. I would have been if I was a grouse.
I heard a Pine Grosbeak singing when I got home. It was too cold to pretend that spring was here. Maybe it was responding to the height of the sun in the sky after the dark winter. This time of year we get six extra minutes of daylight every day.
It’s hard to imagine that a year from now we’ll be in Florida. Maybe it’ll be so hot that we’ll think longingly of the Yukon winter. Maybe we’ll be watching a Purple Gallinule stalking across a lily pad or an Anhinga spearing a fish. Maybe we’ll be sloshing through a wooded swamp, hoping that an Ivory-billed Woodpecker will flash in front of our binoculars. No maybe about this – for sure we’ll be thinking about Ivory-bills, hoping that they still exist somewhere.
Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.