• Mary Anderson

Saving for a Sunny Day

Snow is melting everywhere around me. It is pouring out of the mountains. I pass close to twenty waterfalls daily and cross numerous streams. All of this glorious water that will help keep the earth green as the sun heats up during the summer was stored as snow during the winter. The earth didn't need it as much then. The ground was frozen, plants were not really growing, some animals were hibernating, and the weak winter sun was not drying out the snowcovered ground. But now the plants are exploding with life, baby animals are making great water demands on their parents, and the strong summer sun could easily dry out the land. By storing water as snow in winter and releasing it in spring, nature provides for the needs of life on earth.

As much as those of us in northern climates complain about the snow, we need it. That water, stored away in winter, is really important to our spring and summer water supply. The glaciers have been shrinking here for years. And as the winters warm and less snow falls, our summer water supply is being impacted.

I've walked through the desert. I've been surrounded by large forest fires. I understand how bad it can get. It terrifies me much more than meeting a grizzly bear, crossing a steep snow-covered slope, or being charged by a moose.

I am currently sitting in record heat in Montana. I know the heat is even worse in other places. I believe that by now most people understand that global weather change is really happening. But do we really understand the impact this is having on things such as fresh drinking water? So many of us take water for granted, expecting it will always be there, but like many dried-up water sources on the trail, the tap may one day run dry. I am grateful to all of those who are dedicating their lives to the fight for clean water and a healthy environment.

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