“Hoar frost,” a feathery frost that forms as a result of specific climate conditions, covered trees and branches throughout Leelanau County on Sunday, Feb. 4, inspiring countless photos and conversations. The prematurely melting snow and the impacts of global warming on northern Michigan’s winter created a layer of fog that blanketed the region in an eery but beautiful landscape. According to the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, “the word ‘hoar’ comes from old English and refers to the old age appearance of the frost: the way the ice crystals form makes it look like white hair or a beard.

Our unusual cold weather is actually caused by global warming. Our extremely cold winter was outbalanced by simultaneous record-breaking heat in Australia. Meanwhile, the Arctic continues to be warmer than normal. That affects everything above the equator.

On Thursday, October 16, Glen Arbor resident and business owner Chris Sack posted photos on his Facebook page that showed the basement of his home on M-109, west of Glen Arbor, flooding with water. But Sack’s frustration fell on deaf ears. Later that evening, at the Township Hall in Glen Arbor, State Representative Ray Franz (Republican) concluded a townhall forum by calling Climate Change “a hoax”.

On August 21, scientist Lukas Bell-Dereske gave a public presentation to a packed house at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitor Center in Empire that offered a window into how climate change will affect our cherished National Park.

Fifteen-year-olds Annabel Skrocki and Annie Lively, both sophomores at Glen Lake School, stood in complete silence with more than 400,000 other climate activists at the People’s Climate march on Sept. 21—mourning, for the melting glaciers, the rising oceans, the dryer mid-continents, the stronger storms, the disappearing islands and the paralyzed politicians.

The League of Women Voters Leelanau County (LWVLC) will present “The Weather Machine Shifts Gears,” with guest speaker Dave Barrons, at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 4, in the Leelanau County Government Center.

There is trash on our beaches, the climate is changing, and Glen Lake High School’s Students for World Awareness (SWA) want our community to do something about it. With Earth Day approaching, the students of the club have planned an event to increase environmental consciousness within their Leelanau County community.

When the US Army Corps of Engineers measured Lake Michigan and Lake Huron water levels at the end of December, they discovered that the depth had receded to 576.15 feet above sea level — breaking the record for the previous all-time-low of 576.2 feet set in 1964. That’s not a record to celebrate. Numbers are complex and difficult to comprehend. But beaches along Sleeping Bear Bay offered more clarity, and sobering clarity at that. The shoreline has receded substantially from previous years, leaving behind a hard, rocky surface in places, and prompting widespread alarm.

That pie you ate at Cherry Republic last week wasn’t the fruit of a local tart cherry farmer’s labor — not this year, at least. The Glen Arbor retail company’s quick-thinking president Bob Sutherland imported those pie cherries from Poland after extreme weather this spring all but wiped out northern Michigan’s tart cherry crop.

During the night trees snapped and limbs crashed around my house, but Saturday was characterized by an uncommon quiet. Even the snowmobilers that regularly race the nearby road were nowhere to be heard. I suppose they too were home digging out from the overnight snowfall — 29 inches in some places, I’m told — and attending to basic survival.