I'm sending you a few more photos from Alabama. But first I want to write a bit about the difference between climate and weather, since I'm walking to bring attention to Climate Change not Weather Change. Do you know the difference?
Weather is what happens at a certain time in a definite place. For example, today it might be raining and warm in Boston, while it is dry but cold in São Paulo. And tomorrow it might be very windy in the morning but calm and gorgeous in the afternoon.
Climate is about the conditions that prevail year after year in a certain area of the world, such as New England or Southern Brazil. Both Boston and São Paulo can be said to have humid sub-tropical climates, but Boston is quite a bit colder. São Paulo never gets snow, but even if it did snow on a strange weather day it would still have a subtropical climate. However, if it started getting snow every year we would say that the climate changed.
Now this is actually happening around the world: the climate is changing. But it's not getting colder as the example I made up for São Paulo. It's getting warmer, which is where the term 'global warming' comes from. From our human point of view, it's getting warmer very slowly and some people don't even believe it. It can be hard to notice because it might not seem any warmer in some places. I read that the state of Alabama has actually experienced a cooling trend the last few years. But even if both Boston and São Paulo had unusually cold summers, the average temperature around the Earth would still be warmer.
So we need to learn to pay attention to the weather where we live so that we know whether to wear a sweater or carry an umbrella, or if we should plan to go to the beach on the weekend. And we need to pay attention to the climate and try to stop the things that human beings do that are making it hotter, because the heat brings with it some changes that are harmful to people, animals and plants.
And now to the pictures. If you pay attention you will see something about the weather in Alabama this past week - no blue skies, because it was a very rainy week.
Notice the stones that make up the walls of this shed. In the beginning of my walk, in Louisiana and southern Mississippi, there were no rocks, only shells and pebbles. But northern Alabama has hills with lots of rocky ridges.
Remember my photos from Mississippi, when the road was lined with pine trees? This looks very different.
Did you ever see dovecotes like this? They are made of gourds that have been painted white. If you look closely you will see little birds that are flying to the nests they've made inside the gourds.