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

Just Posted

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

Three people wanted on warrants

Terrace RCMP asking for public’s help

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Most Read