Atmosphere And Weather

The Effect of Snow on Human Society



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Snow and climate are major factors in cultures and societies around the world. An abundance of snow can either be a handicap, or, in some cases, a factor that encourages creativity.

In areas where large amounts of snow are not the norm, being held hostage by a blizzard can be a traumatic experience. If you have ever been cooped up in the winter during an especially bad snow year, you already know what it can do to your temperament, disposition, and general attitude. There have been years when large sections of the country are actually under these conditions for months at a time, producing what is commonly called, “cabin fever”.

Years ago this “cabin fever” was a real problem, leading to emotional upsets and changes in mood and disposition. Being cut off from other members of society, communication, and news, produced serious problems if it lasted for an extended period of time. Even getting out for the necessities, such as food and fuel was virtually impossible at times. However, in this day and age, when we have television, radio, and the internet, “cabin fever” has subsided. People can somewhat go on with their normal routines, or at the very least, stay in contact with the outside world.

The inability to get out and interact with others can be a frightening and frustrating experience. It can also be claustrophobic.
During and after the blizzard of 1880 in New York City, people were unexpectedly confined to their homes and apartments. Unprepared for this traumatic event, people became panicked, and sometimes, behaved irrationally, while trying to get out and go about their business.

In countries or climates where snow is common, and often regarded as a blessing for the economy, the snowy season is a time of joy. People living in these areas are accustomed to coping with large amounts of snow, and, have developed methods of getting around, and, even using the cold weather to their advantage. Where livelihoods depend on winter weather, snow is a welcome event.

The Inuits are probably the best example of a society that uses the harsh climate they have inherited to their advantage. They have learned, through the generations, to travel on the snow and ice, use it to build their homes, and, hunt for find their food, even in this snowy world.

Many cultures that have prolonged winter seasons have also developed in other ways as a result of their climate. Some of the coldest and snowiest countries have, in the past, contributed to the arts through literature and music. But, on the downside, as in the case of Russia, who attribute some of their literature to the climate, adverse conditions and large amounts of snow often led to hardships, and political unrest.

Snow, the amount you receive, and how different societies handle it is up to each particular culture and how well they have learned to adapt and use it to their advantage.

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More about this author: Lenna Gonya

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