Did anyone notice that Justin Trudeau quietly re-named the Environment and Climate Change committee to Environment and Clean Growth?
There is some sense to that if you want to direct our attention away from the Really Big Issue. We’ve been cautioned that “now is not the time” to talk about climate issues, especially, it seems when we’re in the midst of fire and floods.
When is the right time to consider conflagrations in our forests that threaten our health and livelihood? When is the right time to formulate actions to reduce rising temperatures, spring floods, deeper snows and harsh impacts on our forests, agriculture and homes?
When is the right time to acknowledge links between events?
Here’s an example that I appreciate. Over recent decades pine beetles have ravaged our pine forests. Winter temperatures no longer stay cold enough to kill wintering beetle larvae.
When I flew over central BC almost ten years ago, the sea of red, dead pines swept north and south, east and west from the border to Fort St John and beyond. I had heard about the beetle problem but the visible evidence stunned me. What a monumental environmental disaster! Our forests became fodder for fires as hotter temps and lower humidity also became more common.
When are we going to wake up and not only smell the smoke, but do something about it? I’ve just experienced an emergency evacuation so this seems very immediate to me!
We are smart people in many respects. Our huge brains have taken us from a simple life on the land to a burgeoning super computer world of solutions full of complexities that many of us can’t even understand.
We wobble from one intense crisis to another, shocked by images of fires that heat up our skies, dumping carbon particles into the atmosphere. But we hesitate to make connection between what we see and feel and the future.
A friend recently had a Hawaiian vacation cancelled as a Category 5 hurricane swirled toward the islands. “Who knew Hawaii even had a hurricane season?” she asked shaking her head. Certainly Hawaii is not known for storms packing winds of 200 kms or more. Nor are many of the places that are being hit with larger more destructive storms.
Closer to home, when did we recognize that purple loose strife, sulphur cinq foil, Russian olive and puncture vine had become reviled invasive plants? Who knew that they would thrive in our hotter, drier days aided and abetted by disturbed soils often displacing or interfering with our agricultural crops?
I’ve watched our politicians duck and weave and minimize the impact of decisions like Site C dam, the LNG terminal at Kitimat and the questionable wisdom of allowing dozens of anti-spawning mats to be installed in salmon rivers to facilitate the construction of another pipeline.
Did we notice when the emphasis shifted from the consideration of all the steps in acquiring fossil fuels to just that of land based transportation? We’ve been working on a lot of ways to disregard where the product ends up too and what happens when it’s used.
A pipeline is a conduit of a potentially climate altering substance.
Did we forget that? Did Justin Trudeau and the Energy Commission forget that? We’ve all been firmly reminded by the recent Federal Court ruling that suggests serious flaws in the approval process such as overlooking the oil tanker component that could endanger our communities and waterways.
Did John Horgan forget our future when he suggested that BC’s small population size absolves us of responsibility for the impact of the LNG terminal and conduits in and out? Was he attempting to diminish our individual impact, our province wide impact? Was he diminishing the significance of climate change?
When is the right time to pay attention and demand the same of our ‘leaders?’
The time is now.