One degree of separation


As I diversify the range of topics I’m addressing, I decided to use a personal reflection on my first winter of bike commuting in Oslo as a window into global climate change and what a difference a degree makes. An excerpt:

Norway just had its warmest winter on record, following a year of record-high temperatures and extreme weather events. While the ninth circle of Dante’s hell is frozen solid, he could have deepened Satan’s torment by placing him on a stationary bicycle waist-deep in a pool of slush that freezes by night and melts by day. The only thing worse than freezing cold is wet, not-quite-freezing cold. What made my winter bike commute a new circle of hell was not subzero temperatures but weeks of bouncing above and below freezing—the one degree of separation between water and ice.

For me, the difference a degree makes was mostly a matter of discomfort and inconvenience. For others, it’s a matter of survival. …

Read the full commentary at The Christian Century. Fun fact: This article was expertly edited by Steve Thorngate, who was an editorial intern at Sojourners when I worked there, and whom I “mentored”—which goes in quotes because mostly we just hung out over lunch and talked about stuff. He was probably already a better editor than me at that point.