Viewpoint: Addressing climate change

In 1962, Rachel Carson, the mother of the modern environmental movement, laid bare the dangers of chemical pesticides in her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, providing rich food for thought for today’s environmental activists.

Nelson, BC, ecology writer Michael Jessen recently quoted Carson’s still relevant statement that “It is a great problem to know how to penetrate the barrier of public indifference and unwillingness to look at unpleasant facts that might have to be dealt with if one recognized their existence.”

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As we approach observance of the 47th Earth Day on April 22, a review of some unpleasant facts emerging to be dealt with today is appropriate.

Despite more people becoming aware that human-caused climate change presently exists, more than half of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere since the 1750s industrial revolution has occurred since 1988. The rate continues to accelerate while fossil-fuel producers currently admit they have understood the dangers for many decades.

Regardless of claims to be addressing the “problem” through international agreements, some residents of BC struggle to make sense of the contradictions of a federal government insisting the dirtiest, carbon-fouling fossil fuel on earth from the Alberta tar sands must be exported through a BC pipeline and coastal waters so Canada may have an imaginary national plan to address carbon emissions and climate change.

In addition, the BC government has rammed through a potentially bankrupting BC Hydro project at Site C to provide subsidized electricity for the earthquake producing, water polluting, methane emitting, atmosphere-degrading LNG export industry.

Given that global returns on investment in alternative energy sources significantly outperform those in oil and gas, a fact that the fossil-fuel industry understands, Climate Action Powell River (CAPR) continues to be bewildered and dismayed by why our governments persist in undermining efforts to address climate change and its enormous costs in favour of promoting, subsidizing and investing in the dying fossil-fuel industry.

Notwithstanding the uncertainty and apparent confusion of government policy and corporate deceit, we continue to commit to public climate change education and advocacy projects that support residents’ understanding and activism.

CAPR is preparing to launch a website, climateactionpowellriver.earth, which will include a Powell River-specific carbon calculator, enabling residents to

annually calculate and record for comparison their carbon footprint. It is another unpleasant fact and a truly sobering one when calculating how many possible “earths” would be consumed were every person on the planet to consume as voraciously as we do.

Our core motivation is the compelling knowledge that the steps to address climate change we take, or fail to take today, will starkly and decisively influence the welfare of the young and yet to be born. It is a humbling question of responsibility and empathy.

Climate Action Powell River hosts a public gathering at 2 pm in the Poplar Room at Powell River Recreation Complex on the second Saturday of each month. Everyone is invited to attend.

Honour the young. Happy Earth Day to all.

Climate Action Powell River is a non-profit society dedicated to environmental education and advocacy.

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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