In the past two weeks Beijing has seen unusually early and copious snowfall. The latest was on Tuesday this week when about 4-5 inches of accumulated snow arrived just in time to wreak havoc on the morning commute. Buses got stuck and pedestrians slipped and slid to their destinations. It was no fun for anyone, but given my recently re-injured knee (another story to come), it was even tougher on me. I would have ordered a one-horse open sleigh if I thought a horse could have handled it.
Even though the commute was excitement enough, the best part of the whole story actually came later. It turns out that the Chinese government actually had engineered these past two snow storms to address a long standing drought. In fact, the special government agency called the “Weather Modification Office” regularly does this.
This was an intriguing surprise for me. First, I wasn’t even aware that managing the weather was possible. Second, it raises all sorts of major ethical and political issues/questions. Third, it made me wonder if humans could actually do even more harm to the earth by attempting to control the weather directly. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Anyway, if you are interested in reading more, here is one article I found. A simple google search will turn up many more.