In Feb 2012, I was blown away when I saw the Colosseum covered in a blanket of snow. It was beautiful. I’d never seen Rome like this before – it was like seeing the city with new eyes.

(Photo: Elizabeth Minchilli)

(Photo Credit: Elizabeth Minchilli)

(Photo credit: globalwarming-arclein.blogspot.com)

The Roman Forum covered in snow. (Photo Credit: globalwarming-arclein.blogspot.com)

Last night, I saw photos coming out of Cairo and Jerusalem of snow-covered Middle-Eastern cities.

That’s what I love about Instagram, it’s like seeing the world and cities and neighbourhoods and people’s lives through their smartphones – like a Born into Brothels kinda thing.

(Photo Credit: Saleh Mousa)

(Photo Credit: Saleh Mousa)

The Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock are covered in snow in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)

The Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock are covered in snow in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)

But then, the weather scares me. It’s the first time it’s snowed in Egypt in 100 years. And even when I was traveling around the world in 2011, everyone I spoke to – on every continent – echoed the same thing: the climate is changing.

And we’re seeing the signs in more and more dramatic and spectacular ways. Paulo Coelho writes in The Alchemist about reading omens. Can we not read them?

While I am awed by the beauty of a snow-covered Cairo and Rome, I’m also reminded that I cannot overlook the graver message these images carry; and to ponder really the role we each have to play in this. If we do nothing, we are in fact doing something.

It’s so easy to be sidetracked by Beauty.

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