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Lions Roar : January 2005
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2005 29 G R E T E L E H R L I C H spent a year travelling the world’s coldest places, meditating on the experience of book, The Future of Ice, she backpacks the peaks of the southern Andes. WEATHER IS ALL MIXED UP with movements of mind: a gust can shove one impulse into another; a blizzard erases a line of action; a sandstorm permeates inspiration; rain comes in the form of sleep; lightning can make scratch-marks on the brain; hail gouges out a nesting place, melts and waters the seed of an idea that can germinate into idiocy, a joke, or genius. How could it be otherwise? A year ago I went out into the world to live in the cold and snow and to look at ice, since climate change may threaten to make the season of winter “extinct.” There can be no question about global warming. We have 420,000 years of climate his- tory at our fingertips, covering the last four glacial and inter- glacial cycles. Ice cores are time machines. As snow becomes firm and then compresses into ice, oxygen bubbles are trapped in the glacier, providing samples of ancient atmos- phere; using these, we can compare levels of methane and carbon dioxide before and after industrialization. In the last ten years, as industrial pollution and green- house gases have increased rapidly, the weather has made PHOTOS BY DAVID MCLAIN /AURORA Alongtimepractitioner ofBuddhism, GRETEL EHRLICH is a poet, novelist, equestrian and outdoor adventurer. The Future of Ice is her eighth book of nonfiction. Her most recent article in the Shambhala Sun was about St. Francis of Assisi.