This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (NOAA via AP) This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. EDT. (NOAA via AP)

Column: If not now, when will we make the changes needed to stop global warming?

The thought of our children or grandchildren suffering from the ravages of climate change are unbearable to think about, too frightening to consider. So we don’t.

It’s a little like being a child with that monster under the bed.

It’s there, always in the corner of your mind, never allowing you to completely relax, to feel safe.

You can curl up tightly in the covers, immerse yourself in a book, think of other things, but it’s still there.

It’s only when you buck up your courage, roll onto your stomach and slowly, shakily, lower your head over the edge of the bed, and take an upside-down look below the mattress that things change.

The fear shifts. The monster in your mind relinquishes some of its power.

Climate change is a bit like that.

Forest fires rage, rivers flood, temperatures spike and fall to extremes, tornadoes and hurricanes blow, but we skip down the garden path, our shiny new pipeline under our arm, the gold coins from LNG jingling in our pockets. Still, we can’t quite relax and enjoy.

The thought of our children or grandchildren suffering from the ravages of climate change are unbearable to think about, too frightening to consider. So we don’t.

Related: UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning

On Monday, however, the scientists of the world demanded we take a look. A hard look.

If we refuse to look we remain immobilized, powerless, distracted.

These scientists are not an extreme group out to frighten people.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries, using more than 6,000 scientific references, prepared The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. They are the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group invited to make a report for the United Nations on climate change and what can be done.

If we humans continue on the path we are on, heedlessly releasing greenhouse gases into the air, the planet will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures by 2030 – just 12 years from now.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree Celsius of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of one IPCC working group.

Related: Canada needs to cut its emissions almost in half: UN

The report provides policy makers with the information they need to tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs.

“The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” states Debra Roberts, another working group co-chair.

So whether we’re environmentalists or not, whether we need the funds provided by the oil industry or not, this report is for all of us.

We all depend on the earth and, more importantly, so do the generations who follow.

If we’re not going to make substantial and decisive changes now, when are we?

Martha Wickett is a reporter with the Salmon Arm Observer.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Metchosin bird card project finds its wings

On display at Metchosin ArtPod from July 10 to 12

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read