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by Lawrence Bush
I STEPPED OUT onto my porch two evenings ago and heard peepers — tree frogs — who make one of the most beguiling and happy sounds of spring in the countryside. My heart sank. They were out a month early, after a week of 72º temperatures in late February. I knew that the temperatures were going to plunge this weekend to well below freezing, possibly to the single digits. A generation of tree frogs, I feared, was going to be wiped out, another frog casualty of global climate change.
Google suggested otherwise. The spring peeper "can tolerate the freezing of some of its body fluids, and . . . is capable of surviving the freezing of its internal body fluids to temperatures as low as -8° C." Nu, the tree frogs may be safe -- for now -- even while “we are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2º C warming over pre-industrial levels,” according to the meteorological analysis that I found in the course of my Googling. Commenting on NASA statistics for February, the analysts called the month's new global record for warmth "a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases."
That 2º C maximum was agreed to as an outside limit at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. But now, according to the New York Times, there is a great debate going on in the White House about whether or not the U.S. should withdraw from the treaty reached at the conference, as Donald Trump promised to do during his campaign. Do it! says Steve Bannon. Don't do it! says Ivanka.
Do it! says Haman.
Don't do it! says Esther.
Do it! says the anti-Semite.
Don't do it! says the Jew.
Purim, this year, is about more than getting drunk.
Ivanka, please tell your father that you'd very, very much like his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to hear the peepers for years to come. Tell him!
Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.