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How to build a snowman during El Niño

Flickr: Richie Diesterheft

Do you want to build a snowman?


Ok, so you’re sister doesn’t want to join—no biggie.

You’ve got this, it’s the end of December and you’re going to build a snowman. You put on your gloves, hat, and puffy winter jacket ready for all the fluffy white snow you’re about to ball up to build an epic snowman. However, upon opening the door you’re shocked to find—no snow!

Unfortunately, the cold shoulder from your sister might be the most icy thing around right now thanks to warming temperatures from El Niño. Last year the weather was perfect snowman weather (especially in Boston).

But you have no snow this year—what are you going to do? Here are five steps to build a snowman during El Niño.

1/ Get inspired

Olaf dreams of a warm world of summer and that’s exactly what winter feels like in places that had much colder temperatures last year. But don’t let this stop you from taking part in fun winter activities. You can still build a snowman, it’s just going to be little different. Take a look at Olaf’s friends in this video: there’s even a sandy beach snowmen!

2/ Collect your “snowman” materials


This is going to depend on your region. Are you in an urban setting with no snow? Do you live in a more rural mountainous area with no snow? Or perhaps you’re living in coastal beach town that has never gotten snow and you’re tired of being left out of classic winter festivities? Below are three suggestions based on different geographic regions for your El Niño version of a snowman.

Urban alternative: Trashbags and clothing donation "snowman!" Collect a bunch of white trashbags and any old clothes you plan to donate from 2015. Plus, click here to learn how not to buy new clothes for a year.

Mountain/rural alternative: This gets a little more tricky because with El Niño some areas a experiencing severe drought and others will be seeing higher percentages of rainfall. So if you’re in a dry region I’d go with collecting rocks. It may be heavier but it’s less work than rolling all that snow together. For those dwelling in rainy regions this season try using mud. It’s similar to snow, natural and will have a similar effect as snow melting when the heavy rainfall hits.

Beach alternative: If you’re lucky enough to be living in a coastal climate (while they last) sand is going to be your “snowman” material this season. So head to the beach or any sandy area to collect your material.

3/ Begin construction


Now that you have your El Niño snowman materials it’s time to start building! If you already know how to build a snowman, this part is going to be repetitive so feel free to skip to step number four. If not here are some steps to follow. First, start with the basics to build your base.

If you’re using trashbags, begin by filling your trash bags with clothes and other items to donate to Salvation Army or a charity of your choice that provides donations of toys, clothing and other household items to disadvantaged communities. Fill three bags, ranging from large to small. Then stack your donation bags atop each other to create the body of your urban snowman. This way your “snowman” is both sustainable, re-useable and a holiday donation. Plus, your collection of trash bags won't be flying off into the street during this windy and warm El Niño.


For a mountain or beach alternative first decide what material you will be using then begin building! For rocks, simply stack three rocks on top of each other. For mud or sand—roll your material into a large ball shape about two-three feet high then roll another ball and place it on top of the first and finally add a third ball for the head and reminisce about the days when you were using real snow.

Complete any of the “snowmen” with the original sticks for arms, a healthy organic carrot nose and charcoal for eyes and a mouth. Using charcoal this way keeps all those fossil fuels from leaking into the atmosphere!

4/ Name your new friend


Hard to call your buddy a snowman when he or she is not actually made of snow. Plus, since “snowman” isn’t the most original name in the first place, you can really get creative here. Instagram filters are trending for baby names this year so why not something like Juno, or Moon as a reminder of once colder climates. Or you can go back to the more literal with “donationman,” “mudman” or “rockman.”

5/ Be happy your “snowman” will never melt


And maybe be a little concerned, because if world leaders and global citizens don’t take steps to change the effects of climate change, the world’s most vulnerable populations will be affected more than anyone.

You can also take action on climate change if you’re not excited at the prospect of a snowman made from trashbags instead of real snow by going to TAKE ACTION NOW and making Global Goal 13: Climate action your New Years resolution for 2016.