Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thoughts on Chinooks, Climate Change and DiCaprio

Dear Leo,

I was horrified to hear of your recent close encounter with climate change in Alberta. How shocking it must have been to you and your film crew to discover that Calgary, despite your beliefs, seemed to be subjected to sudden gusts of warm winds that would melt all that perfect snow you needed for your film. And really, how inconvenient for you, since you were filming a movie and obviously climate change was at work and getting in the way of your craft.

Except, um, Leo? Calgary and surrounding area has a long history of these things called chinooks. These are gusts of warm ocean air that come in over the Rockies, bringing with them moderate temperatures and yes, melting snow. And they happen often enough in Calgary that they even name shopping malls after them. Yep, they are just that ubiquitous.
And those locals who told you this “never happens” in our province? I hate to say this Leo, but I think they were having a bit o’ fun with the visiting movie star who they hoped was gullible enough to believe this was the evil of climate change at work, and not a naturally occurring phenomena that has been around since, oh, the Rockies popped up on the landscape. And yeah, we do think that kind of gullibility is rather funny, so sorry about that. Our bad.

But I get it, Leo. It makes a good story, full of moral righteousness and indignation at a world that seems bent on warming itself out of existence, because you have WITNESSED CLIMATE CHANGE – except that false outrage, like mistaking chinooks for signs of climate change, doesn’t do much to convince anyone of your credibility.
And, well, it kinds makes people snicker, too.

Leo, I have no doubt you and your crew totally thought this was unnatural and aberrant weather in Calgary, although if you were really looking for snow you should have come a bit further north where it is far more predictable (we don’t get chinooks here in Fort McMurray, Leo, but then again you visited in the summer). Truth is you probably wanted some snow and some cold for filming, but not TOO cold and not TOO much snow, right? So you picked Calgary, but honestly every single Albertan (and most folks from the prairies) know that snow and cold in Calgary is about as predictable as movie stars getting their facts straight. It’s a hit and miss kind of thing, really.
And it’s actually a bit cute, in an “aw, lookit Leo, he thinks chinooks are climate change” kind of way, but then again I doubt you were going for the cutesy factor and hoped instead to be seen as a serious warrior in the battle against climate change. You probably should have checked your weapon headed into battle on this one, though, as it appears somebody gave you a Nerf gun when you thought you had a rifle.

Oh Leo. I’m not one of those who says people should stick to acting or that they don’t know anything, but on this one I am a bit embarrassed for you. I have to wonder what the environmental cost was to move filming your movie from Alberta to Argentina (did you move your equipment and crew there on pedal bikes, Leo?) and what kind of research your crew did when picking Calgary for a cold, snowy film destination when anyone could have told you that southern Alberta can have quite mild winters, including chinooks.
But hey, thanks for the laugh, Leo. I can’t wait for your next visit to Alberta. You might want to stay away from the locals, though. I think they’ve pegged you as an easy mark now, and there is no telling what they will try to tell you next. Like if they tell you to pull their finger, just don’t do it, Leo. And if you do, that warm gust of wind that follows? That’s not climate change, either.

Trust me on this one.


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