Tim Yearington Teacher, Speaker Storyteller, Author

  Climate Change: An Algonquin View


Can you imagine what it would be like if winter came one year and then the following spring winter never, ever went away again? Our ancestors experienced something like this thousands of years ago. They called it the Great Winter. It must have appeared it would last forever so life quickly became all about serious matters to ensure human survival. Methods, manners and techniques to survive became our way of life.

Along with many animals, our ancestors endured migrations far away from the advancing glacier by retreating vast distances to the south in order to stay warm, find food, eat and keep people together. We know this today due to the ancient oral stories and creation myths that still intrigue us and help us see into that distant, almost unbelievable time.

The last Great Winter, coming from the north with cold winds, was the last Ice Age. If we follow the natural cycle of the Four Great Seasons, the next one will be the Great Spring coming from the east with the hot return of the heat and fire of the Sun. Climate change is proven and it is a fact. Beginning with the melting of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago, the Four Great Seasons are carried upon the back of the Great Turtle. 


Luckily we still have the shell of the Great Turtle to remind us about the seasons of our traditional calendar. And not just about the four annual seasons we experience; but more importantly the bigger picture about the Four Great Seasons of Life that repeat as a natural, unending cycle here on Mother Earth regardless of the existence of human beings.

The human knowledge retained in our traditional Algonquin Worldview serves to remind us all of the basic things that really matter to human beings here on Earth. The very things that matter most are the things we still take for granted today. With the rapid coming of the next Great Spring unpredictable weather, climate change and drought will become increasingly critical to acknowledge. The things that matter most to us as people - fresh drinking water, healthy food and genuine concern for one another as equals - will become vital to sustain human life. Just like it was in the old days for all of our human ancestors around the world.