To Every Thing There is a Season (And This season is Fall)
By Joe Carpenter, Programs Director
The fall was such a wonderful time for me growing up. As much as I didn’t want to do schoolwork again, the possibilities outweighed the pain. The fall meant the start of a new hockey season, and for me that was almost nirvana.
Growing up in New England I liked other things about the fall season as well. There was something so exciting about the colors of the leaves, the cooler weather, pumpkins, mazes at farms, apple cider/apple picking, and “haunted” hayrides for Halloween to name a few.
I know life changes; in fact I like the fall less than I used to because it isn’t tied to the beginning of a new hockey season any longer (that is, a season where I believed I could still become a pro hockey player). And now it seems to me as though climate-wise, the seasons aren’t quite the same anymore either.
A time to die? A time to pluck up that which is planted?
So as the end of October approaches I’ve started to question how climate change is affecting the wonderful things that I view as classic fall in New England.
According to Conservation in a Changing Climate, we can expect fall to come later and winter to be shorter, with substantial potential changes throughout entire ecosystems. Climate science points to increases in disease, more extreme weather events, and changes to how species interact with each other.
So what about the leaves? Through an article by Think Progress I’ve come to see climate change’s effects on leaves very dependent on the weather – go figure. You may see brighter leaves for a shorter duration (increased CO2 mixed with sun and drought potential), but also more drab colors (from increased precipitation and cloud cover). There is also potential impact to leaf health from increased diseases and how effectively different trees can adapt to an overall warmer climate.
Now, what about the pumpkins and the apples – that is, growing food (pumpkin and apple pie is food right)? For pumpkins, exposure to too much rain along with heat waves that speed up harvesting can cause decreased yields due to rot. And apples have become softer and sweeter over time due to earlier blooms. Farmers will need to make changes due to more extreme weather and the alteration in growing seasons, but both pumpkins and apples will still continue to exist.
A time to still go on a haunted hayride or through a maze?
I can’t say I thought it worth the time to try and figure out how climate change would impact mazes and haunted hayrides, but I suspect like the previous topics areas climate change will bring a mixed bag largely impacted by extreme weather. Maybe I should just prepare myself mentally like I do when I spend Christmas in Florida with my parents – still good, just different than before.
About the author: Joe Carpenter is the Programs Director at CABA. Previously, he served as an Officer in the U.S. Army for nearly 10 years, including three combat deployments, and working for a small manufacturing company in a number of capacities. Joe graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and from Harvard University Extension School with a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Sustainability; among a myriad of other educational experiences. Joe enjoys spending time in nature, working out, playing video games, watching improv comedy shows, and trying to figure out how things can be “done better.”