We’re always looking for new ways to make naysayers understand the seriousness of climate change, but in Canada it’s pretty clear: If you want people to be concerned about global warming, remind them that it threatens hockey. To help you in this endeavor, a Canadian organization has built an interactive map of Canada and the northern U.S. that lets you see the location of outdoor skating rinks, and whether or not they have managed to freeze.
The organization is called Rinkwatch and its motto is pretty straightforward: “Where backyard skating meets environmental science.” Its mission is pretty simple too: It asks people for daily reports on the state of their local outdoor rink. It then puts a little skating guy to denote the presence of a rink. You can go to this site anytime you want, and by clicking “skateable” or “not skateable,” get some sense of how this whole global warming thing might be progressing at any given moment. If you click on an individual skater dude you might see a photo, either of a smiling person playing hockey, or of a sad, wet, climate change-affected rink.
The biggest benefit of Rinkwatch will be when we can see how many unfrozen rinks there are at this time next year, and the year after that — but sometimes the best way to get someone’s attention is to show them how something is affecting them right now. And as you can see, there are a lot of unfrozen rinks at the moment. This is a bummer anywhere, and definitely a big bummer in Canada, where playing hockey outdoors is like, what people do for fun as a community. Well, maybe what they will do for fun now as a community is work towards raising awareness of global warming so that we can slow down or mitigate its effect on the planet, and thus save ice hockey.