Raving Inner City Lunatics – or what?
Check outside. Snow. Lots of it is accumulating throughout the Outaouais. And check the temperatures: CTV news reported that Ottawa experienced the coldest November 13th on record: -14C at 3:00 am. (bit.ly/32IZk6t)
I’ve lived in the Pontiac for 30 years and in ’89 when I arrived, gardening friends advised that September’s full moon fairly predictably brought hard frost.
However? Since 1989, Pontiac’s climate has been changing.
This year we gathered tender crops (lettuces, arugula, nasturtiums) into late October. And November 2 saw me gathering bouquets of Sweet William.
Sometimes, change (particularly on the home front) is hard to recognize. We slip from one season to another, accepting each year’s vagaries. Suddenly we realize significant shifts have been occurring gradually, over time.
Changes include animals expanding their northern boundaries. Ticks carrying Lyme disease are increasingly well established here, where many of us know people suffering from Lyme.
Drastically changing planet
Lately, world news depicts images of Earth ravaged by serious changes in climate. Whether it’s devastating droughts or floods, rapidly melting glaciers, raging fires, or rising sea levels, the world’s environment is drastically altering.
For instance, Venice is flooded, where its mayor attributes the 1.87-metre (six-foot) inundation to climate change.
Now hang on, you say. The highest flood level recorded in Venice was in 1966. So, why is this 2019 flood blamed on climate change?
Nikki Berry is the BBC’s (British Broadcasting Company’s) meteorologist. In her professional opinion, Venice’s flooding is due to climate change. She wrote:
“While we should try to avoid attributing a single event to climate change, the increased frequency of these exceptional tides is obviously a big concern. In our changing climate, sea levels are rising and a city such as Venice, which is also sinking, is particularly susceptible to such changes.
“One of the possible effects of a changing climate is that the jet stream will be more frequently meridional and blocked weather patterns such as these will also become more frequent. If this happens, there is a greater likelihood that these events will combine with astronomical spring tides and hence increase the chance of flooding in Venice.
“Furthermore, the meridional jet stream can be linked back to stronger typhoons in the north-west Pacific resulting in more frequent cold outbreaks in North America and an unsettled Mediterranean is another one of the downstream effects.”
It’s dead easy to dismiss climate change and ridicule those who believe world economies require a radical shift. The status quo can be comfortable. Therefore, some express their superiority, disdaining those calling for change in environmental policies and the overhauling of world economies which are dependent on fossil fuels.
Calling the Honourable Catherine McKenna (our former federal Liberal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change) a “climate Barbie” and painting her office with the “C-word” makes some feel superior — and empowered.
Such intentional slights are sometimes echoed by politicians. Take Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack. On November 11, he disparagingly declared only “enlightened and woke capital city greenies” believe the catastrophic Australian fires were caused by climate change (bit.ly/3781dNm).
Meanwhile, in the Pontiac where I live, some call me and other environmentalists “city idiots.”
Such deliberate polarization and name calling represents a time-honoured bullying strategy intended to destroy credibility. To my view? Pointlessly predictable – and needlessly destructive.
Building positive action
Instead, why not be positive and heed the science? We are living in a period of truly exciting transition. These extraordinary, oft-disturbing times demand exciting, stimulating, sustainable energy, agricultural and other initiatives.
I stand with Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old Swedish activist who is declaring a climate emergency on Earth, one which we all need to understand is happening and affecting our lives, wherever we live.
So can we please ditch the namecalling and work together, positively, for our only home, this planet Earth? We can achieve so much, together.
Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, author, and visual artist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and view her art at facebook.com/KatharineFletcherArtist/