We are facing multiple environmental crises. Above all, we face irreversible climate change, and a cascading series of related human catastrophes--- drought in agricultural zones, rising sea levels flooding out cities and entire countries, the loss of drinking water for hundreds of millions of people as glaciers disappear and rivers dry up---if we don't act quickly. Scientists tell us we can only avoid those calamities if we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a meaningful way by 2020, and almost entirely by 2050. That will require a radical shift in how we produce and use energy.
And yet, we remain woefully uniformed about climate change, especially in Canada. Scientists are muzzled, not allowed to talk to the public. Long-term monitoring of pollution in lakes near the tar sand is discontinued, for fear of what the evidence will show. The Canadian media seems hamstrung with a pro-tar sands framing of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline, to the point that Americans are better informed about the issues than we are.
Closer to home, the provincial government is embarking on a major re-wiring of our electrical system, putting all its greenhouse gas reduction eggs in the same basket: hooking up to a hydroelectric generator at Churchill Falls in Labrador. But have we considered the full environmental effects of that proposal?
Meanwhile, the already threadbare Department of Environment is seeing its budget slashed still more, raising concerns that we citizens won't have basic information about environmental issues.
Deepak Chopra tells us this week that the solutions to these problems are all personal. We merely need to each become enlightened. People who work on changing our environmental policies, however, say that's a hopeless endeavour. Better to help people understand the practical benefits of making small changes, than to try to save their souls.
No matter where you focus, one thing's certain: all of us need to become better informed, if even just a little. The fate of the earth is in the balance.
posted by MICHELLE CAMERON, Apr 21/16
Alberta initiative wants to help unemployed Maritimers in an eco-friendly career transition. comments 0
posted by JACOB BOON, Jan 21/16
Margaret Miller on carbon pricing, coal and the fracking moratorium. comments 6
posted by JACOB BOON, Nov 26/15
Paris talks are our last, best chance at beating climate change. comments 0
posted by LEAH BATSTONE, Nov 26/15
No need to go to Paris, there are plenty of amazing people and programs right here fighting for a better future. comments 5
posted by CHRIS BENJAMIN, Nov 26/15
Climate change is driving conflicts across the world, and we're starting to see the results. comments 0
posted by CHRIS BENJAMIN, Nov 5/15
"There are no non-radical options left." comments 1
Well, I'm at a loss on this one. Marching in a protest allows people to…
Halifax Council must address this the near monopoly one very large Nova Scotia company has…
Thank you for writing this and sharing such a momentous day!