Thursday, March 6, 2014

How has Technology Changed the Weather?

This past week, while driving school bus, I pulled up to a house in an upper middle class section of the school district, to pick up a student who is attending a private school a few towns away. The young man exited his home, walked past two moderately expensive vehicles, and checked his smart phone for Facebook updates as he got on the bus. The temperature outside was hovering around zero Fahrenheit, and the wind was blowing around 10 miles per hour, resulting in a wind chill of sixteen below zero.

It was dangerously cold, and he was wearing shorts, t-shirt, and sneakers. No coat, hat, or gloves. 
And this scene is common amongst teenagers all across the country.

What drives this behavior? Why do todays young people, the leaders of tomorrow, dress in a manner so unsuitable to the weather?

It is, without any doubt, the fault of technology.

My mother and father made sure that my siblings and I learned first hand about dressing appropriately for weather conditions by immersing us in nature and the outdoors. In the brutal winters of years gone by, my mother would make sure we were dressed in hats, coats, snowpants, mittens, and boots, then she would send us outside. She would tell us to commune with nature, to feel the cold wind on our cheeks, and the sense of accomplishment as we cleared the driveway and sidewalks of snow before we ate dinner.

Often she didn’t use those words, she would say, “Get out of this house, you are driving me crazy."
In the summer, we went out side in shorts, lightweight shirts, and sometimes sneakers, but more often with bare feet. My father always made sure we drank plenty of water, for that was his cure for everything.

We were immersed in the weather, as were all children.

Then came video games, and children stayed inside to play with little dots bouncing off white lines. As the years have passed, technology has only strengthened its hold. Computers, the internet, and smart phones have all dragged us away from experiencing meteorological marvels of the outdoors.

I have felt this hold. Last summer, after working an exceptionally late night, I awoke in the later morning to hear what sounded like water falling from the sky, onto the house, and splashing against the window next to my bed. I grabbed my phone, opened a weather app, checked the radar, and confirmed it was raining.

I did not pull back the blinds and peek outside to see if it was raining.

I opened an app--I opened an app and checked the radar.

I have determined to shake off technology this summer. To go outside in shorts, t-shirt, and bare feet. To re-acquaint myself with the wonder of weather.

Why wait until summer you ask?

Because it is way too cold to go outside in shorts and a t-shirt right now!


  1. Your post made me laugh, especially the part about checking your app rather than looking out the window. It reminded me of preparing to go for a walk with a friend yesterday. I checked my smartphone for the weather. It was a chinook warm day so I thought a sweatshirt would be enough, but as I prepared to go I was questioning whether I would be too hot or too cold in it. Checked my phone again. Then it hit me. Duh. Stand outside for a while and see! How silly we have become in this age of technology! Enjoyed the post, Robert

  2. Very cute and accurate! Thanks for using technology to share your thoughts. You made me laugh!