Pick Your Plan: A, B, or C?

👤Joanne Campbell 🕔Mar 30, 2016

The saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Usually planning works. Sometimes, though, it can be as difficult as predicting the weather.

Take Northword, for instance: When we’re in the last stages of putting the next issue together, there is a point at which the articles and the ads are laid out on their pages, based on how many ads we have sold. This layout is Plan A and we go with it until the last possible minute. Usually, Plan A works just fine; it’s a breeze. Everyone gets their ads in and off to the presses we go. Sometimes, on the last day before we go to press, things get a little stormy: fewer ads come in than expected and that’s when we go to Plan B, the alternate layout. On the other hand, if more ads than expected come in, we happily go to sunny Plan C and change the layout accordingly.  

That last day can be a nail biter, I tell ya, but whether the day be breezy, stormy or sunny, there’s always a plan: A, B or C. But this is just weather. What we really have to watch out for is a change in the climate. Literally.

Like most of us, we roll with the northern economy, which, in turn, rolls with climate change: the declining market for oil and LNG has affected extraction, processing and shipping. Warmer winters enable pine and now spruce beetles, which affect the logging industry. It’s difficult to plan for the future when climate change clouds the visions in our crystal ball.

As I write this, in mid-March, the winter is getting kicked out the door by an over-eager spring. The snow is nearly gone and the birds are flocking back. The dog lies on the deck soaking in the sun and I saw my first mosquito two weeks ago. At this rate, by the time May rolls around, the snowpack will be nearly gone and we’ll be in forest-fire season already. Hopefully, it’ll be a lovely, warm (but not hot) spring with gentle rains and caressing breezes. Flowery but not too frisky.

Hope aside, it’s all a guess at this point. We can’t predict the weather for next week, never mind April and May or the rest of our adult lives. But what else can we do but plan?  

I’m a planner. Here’s my plan:

Plan A (status quo, situation Normal): Start tomato seedlings for the deck greenhouse. Put mosquito screens on windows. Dust off kayak. Walk dog and mow lawn as needed.

Plan B (longer, hotter spring/summer/fall): Plant tomatoes directly into ground. Buy litres of citronella. Shave dog and replace lawn with gravel.    

Plan C (summer only; abolition of winter): Select Pinot noir root stocks for the vineyard and draw up blueprints for the tasting house. Invest in DEET shares or replace kayak with camel and hold sand-dune boarding lessons on the hill behind the house.

As you can see, I’m unsure as to whether this future involves too much water or too little, resulting in a condition known as “flailing to plan.”

Planning for every eventuality is kind of fun and a decent distraction. It makes me feel less impotent in the face of an uncertain future. Perhaps, when it comes to worrying about how to deal with the effects of climate change—instead of planning how to roll with the punches—I should do my bit to help avoid the fight altogether if it’s not too late to pull our punches. Then I could just stick with Plan A and business as usual.

In the meantime, anyone want to invest in a vineyard?