Dec 30, 2009

Climate Denial

Yet again, the major media reported all sorts of extreme weather conditions without even mentioning climate change. Extreme colds, record wet, forest fires, lack of sun - the CBC report laments and wails about the "summer of our discontent" - yet even the CBC doesn't see how this is a manifestation of climate change.

It's here. Climate chaos. Unpredictability. It's not something that's going to happen; it's already happened and will just continue to get worse. My friends in Africa talk about how they used to be able to predict the weather months in advance, now they take huge risks when they plant early or late, betting with longer and longer odds on when/if the rains will come. The effect on us priviledged Canadians is that we have a wetter camping trip - boo hoo. The effect on much of the world, the effect we have caused, is starvation, economic chaos, hardship.

In the wake of "Brokenhagen", the miserably failed talks in Copenhagen in which world "leaders" once again failed to unite on any kind of meaningful commitment to change, an article like this from a generally trustable source like CBC is particularly annoying and irresponsible. Instead of a cute title about the sunless summer, a better title would have been "Canadians drive the sun away in their SUV's."


  1. When I read the 'summer of discontent' article I also wondered why there was no mention of climate change. I guess we know who controls the media.

  2. Hello from a new reader. I couldn’t agree more. It boggles my mind to think that when climate change is mentioned the conversation still almost always includes questions about the validity of the science behind it and whether it is even real. What are people afraid of? That if we act and it isn’t real we will then have a healthier, happier World on our hands? – yeah, that would be a problem.

    We are long since past the point that the precautionary principle should have been triggered with all (economic) action based on a ‘just in case climate change (caused by whatever) is real’ standard until further study was complete.

    Your comment about those in other parts of the world being disproportionately affected by climate change is very topical. Although the overall outcome of COP15 (UN Copenhagen Meeting) is disappointing I think what was accomplished is a greater understanding that climate change action and leadership cannot wait for national governments, and our goals must be scaled to relieve the suffering of those most affected. Local communities must work independently and together on all levels and at all scales. Every community has to radically ramp up its local climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, but those of us in ‘developed’ countries also have an obligation to assist communities and ecosystems in ‘developing’ countries.

    If you will permit me a short rant…

    As you mentioned, these ‘poorer’, often equatorial communities are currently suffering from climate changes that we in the north and of ‘wealth’ have caused. These adverse climate changes coupled with increasing levels of poverty and growing populations are putting pressure on fragile ecosystems such as woodlands and wetlands. As I understand it, in Uganda’s Pallisa District, much of the wetlands have been drained for rice growing and woodlands cleared for fuel wood and cultivation. These ecosystems and the natural services they have provided for millennia have been severely degraded to the extent that they have become altered or extinct in some places. The effects? Drying of water sources, poor harvests, poverty and lose of biodiversity.

    Fortunately the assistance many of these regions require is largely financial. In many cases the annual climate change adaptation strategies can be financed by a few hundred of us giving up one latte/beer/pack of smokes/etc. a week for a year!

    Although voluntary justice is more than enough good reason to financially support the climate change mitigation and adaptation endeavours of these communities, we may also be able to learn from their experience and efforts. As you mention Rick, while we theorize about ecosystem collapse, food security and devastated economies they realize them. What are they doing about it? Is it working?

    How does a region plan and successfully structure their communities, and in turn economies based on the sustainable carrying capacity of their ecosystems?

    We live in a globalized world – for better and worse. ‘Act locally, think globally’ is no longer good enough. We must act locally and globally at a local scale.

    Thanks, I needed that (ha ha).

    From what I have read of your blog you seem very well positioned/connected to help facilitate some basic climate justice. I am keen to initiate a ‘sister community’ project to begin addressing the climate and economic injustices that you outline. The proposal is that as part of their climate change action, every region of every ‘developed’ country organize to ‘sister’ with a region of a ‘developing’ country to provide climate change related financing and to garner practical insight.

    The first step is to set up a working model – which I have been doing. Once the model is established a suitable organization would need to be identified that could oversee the propagation of the concept. Are you interested in chatting about ideas and providing some feedback?


    Join me in beginning to settle the tab for our enormous carbon feasting, we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch.