Don’t be a sap!

maple1We recently posted one of our more popular items, part of the PM Flash Blog – about Project Management in New England.  We’re proud New Englanders and although most people associate the flashy autumn colors with our region, let’s not forget how nice Spring can be, and let’s not forget to include the tapping of maple trees to make that amazing concoction – maple syrup, made from the sap of the maple tree.

Side story: When your author lived in Holland for two years, he adapted to stroop, and found things to be meer lekker met stroop (more tasty with stroop), the closest thing the Dutch had to maple syrup.  And although stroop has its own merits, especially on certain pannekoeken, our whole family really missed maple syrup.  It was one of the items we smuggled TO Holland when we had the chance.


Today’s cover story of the Boston Globe lifestyle section, however, is about how that industry is in jeopardy.  And the challenge – one that had it importing their syrup from (shudder) Quebec last year and probably this year – is related to climate change.

“The long, cold winter oddly recalls the record warmth of 2012 as both may be caused by climate change, which threatens the region’s iconic sugaring industry. This year sugarmakers all over the region are frustrated, and so were the people who wanted to visit the sugarhouses and buy the new syrup.”

Now some of you who may be cynical of the issue of global warming will point to the fact that it was much colder this year in New England than usual.  Don’t be a sap!  The reason that climate change is used as a term to describe the disruptions that we are seeing is that some areas will become warmer, some colder.  The article actually goes on to describe this scientifically:

Research suggests that over the past half-century the maple production season has been shortened by about 10 percent due to climate change, and growers generally agree that freeze-thaw cycles have become much more unpredictable.

As for the winter of 2014, the frigid temperatures reportedly could also be driven by a changing climate. According to some reports, warm air moving in the stratosphere sinks into the Arctic, destabilizes masses of cold air, and pushes them to the south.

“While the physics behind sudden stratospheric warming events are complicated, their implications are not: Such events are often harbingers of colder weather in North America and Eurasia,” wrote Andrew Freedman on the Climate Central website in January. “During the ongoing stratospheric warming event, the polar vortex split in two, allowing polar air to spill out from the Arctic, as if a refrigerator door were suddenly opened.”

So again – don’t be a sap.  It’s referred to as climate change for a reason.

And whether you are a tree-hugger or a tree-tapper, a process manager or a project manager, you can tell from stories like the one from Bascoms (read the article!) are becoming more and more common and of more and more concern.

So learn about it – gather facts.  Let the only thing around here that’s thick… be the maple syrup.