Over the past couple of weeks, we have all faced the prospect of a second nuclear war on this planet.

It’s been fascinating to see U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un trade ever-escalating threats.

However, we are not really worried, and have been considering something completely different. As we see it, Trump is shoring up his support among the lunatic fringe of voters by burnishing his tough guy credentials. Notice how he phrases his threats so gun-toting idiots can follow, such as the American military being “locked and loaded” for action.

As for Kim, he is just following in the family tradition of being despots with illusions of grandeur, and a healthy streak of nuttiness. However, the Kim dynasty also has an impressive knack for self-preservation over seven decades, so we don’t expect any attack on the United States, which would cut Kim Jung Un’s life expectancy to a matter of minutes.

So instead of nuclear radiation, we were focused on more pressing matters to Hay River and the rest of the NWT over recent days – solar radiation. It’s been ungodly hot in Hay River. On Aug. 12, the temperature reached 30.4 degrees Celsius, which is 86.7 degrees for those more impressed by Fahrenheit. That was just shy of the record 30.6 degrees Celsius from 1992.

The temperatures have been so high in the North that we have sometimes noticed an NWT location with the Canadian high on our favourite webpage – Canadian Weather from Environment Canada. Once last week, the highest temperature in Canada was in Norman Wells.
The weather has been so strange that we got a worried call from a relative in Alberta who was seeing the temperatures in High Level, Alta., on the Edmonton nightly news, and called to ask what was going on up here.

We don’t know what to say to that question. It might be just a natural quirk of temporary high temperatures. After all, temperatures have been high in the NWT before. We remember years ago walking past a car in Fort Smith and hearing an obviously impressed Yellowknife DJ tell his listeners that it was 37 degrees in the South Slave town. And we don’t believe that a week of high temperatures indicates anything about climate change.

However, we do accept the science of climate change, and that temperatures in the North are rising higher than anywhere else on Earth. So while none of us will be around to see it, 30.4 degrees Celsius may not be that unusual in Hay River in 100 years.

It may not even be that unusual in 75 years when some of us can tell our grandkids how summers weren’t scorching hot in the North.

We don’t believe the Earth will be destroyed by a nuclear war – at least not until computers become self-aware – but we do believe the planet as we know it will soon be changed forever unless something drastic is done to stop it. The last few weeks have been just a taste of what’s to come.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.