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

Just Posted

Castlegar council develops policy for question period

Questions must pertain to current agenda items and issues or items of interest to the general public

SD20 board welcomes new trustee as budget process begins

New funding funneled to Castlegar bus route, band instrument replacement and library IT equipment.

Missing Slocan City man found dead

Douglas Morrison went missing in mid-January

Stroke survivors lean on each other in Nelson

‘I’ve learned more about strokes from being in the group than I did from anyone else’

COLUMN: Screening will help take Sinixt people (and their drum) to Ottawa

‘Older Than The Crown’ plays Thursday at the Capitol Theatre

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read