How’s Your Weather?
What’s the weather going to be today? I quickly consult the Weather Channel: cloudy with a chance of rain, highs in the low 40’s. Drat. Another overcast, cold rainy day. I want it to be SUNSHINE! It’s heading into winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, and I feel a whine coming on. More blue sky! More fluffy clouds!!
My mood dampens. I check in with how I feel inside and compare it to what is going on outside. My inner mental and physical climate is sunnier, drier and warmer. This doesn’t match the outer climate. I’m sensitive to cold and I can already feel more warmth seeping into my fingers and toes, just from my thermal thoughts. This surge of warmth is quickly followed by my wondering, how long can I keep this up?
That’s the same question the recently released report on the status of climate change warns about. It’s happening faster than expected and it paints an alarming picture. Actions that I once (honestly) thought would be in the future (but not mine) now carry a sense of urgency because we ARE feeling it NOW. This intensity and frequency of the storms over the past few years look to be only getting more intense and volatile.
Both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine view a person as an inseparable part of the universe: That which is within is also without. This turbulence will also be expressed in our bodies. In Virginia, it’s dampness and warmth which can express as more swelling, more mucus-type conditions, a general slowing down due to excess dampness.
This damp, warm environment encourages the growth of molds and fungus. These get into your lungs and sinus (common), your reproductive and/or gastro-intestinal tract and even your brain. Steps can be taken to make our inner climate less supportive to this class of ailments, such as being extra careful when handling moldy products (i.e., using face masks, gloves, disposable gown; changing and washing your clothes promptly afterwards). If your house has mold, take it seriously and fix the source of the dampness and get a cleaning company to clean the house.
The heat and dampness also increase the insect population. Sometimes they are new to the area having migrated from their previous area of choice (think mosquitoes, ticks, flies). With these insects comes new diseases and strains on the local insect balance.
The other effect is on the plant world. Currently we’re experiencing issues with loss of habitat along with climate change on some of our most important medicinal herbs. The herbs we use today may not survive this potentially lethal combination. The ones that do will most likely change their constituents to meet the stress. What does that mean for us and how long will that process take?
It all comes back to what meaningful acts can I, as one person, do? We are fortunate that in Charlottesville there are local groups that are doing amazing things with all aspects of environmental eco-health. The group I’m associated with is under the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative. They have started a Home Energy Challenge for the residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
Consider joining along with your neighbors. Registration for this program is going on now. If you’re not up to the group thing, there is a short clip called “I’m Just One Person” showing actions you can take to reduce waste and lower energy consumption. If you join the Home Energy Challenge, you’ll have access to several of the resources she mentions. It’s narrated by one of the authors of the climate report.
“It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.” Rabbi Tarfon