Procrastination is Killing Us

Great ideas to address climate change already exist — there are thousands of them — but they need to be categorized by the degree of impact they would have on climate change mitigation. Luckily, some authors have attempted this categorization.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken, lists the top 100 most effective solutions while The Carbon Bubble: What Happens to Us When It Bursts, by Jeff Rubin is an extremely insightful resource. But I realize resources matter only if the critical solutions are being put into motion and acted upon — and that is our collective challenge.

In 2015, a study by the British charity Oxfam found that the richest 10% of the world’s people produce 50% of the planet’s individual-consumption-based fossil fuel emissions, while the poorest 50% — about 3.5 billion people — contribute only 10%. If you make $38,000 per year, you are in the top 10%. Given that the most impoverished people will likely need to increase their carbon footprint to secure their basic human needs, the balance of the world’s population needs to deeply contemplate its own consumption. We must ask ourselves, “What do we really need to be well?”

Suggesting that technology is not the answer to the climate crisis  runs counter to what so many of us believe; understanding that those with little or no financial resources impact the destiny of those who have more seems illogical. But at this time, all of humanity depends on all of humanity. As Paul Hawken says:

In a globalized, digitized, hyperconnected world, we have become one system, just as the earth is one system. Humanity’s common needs want to be synchronized, harmonized, and recognized.

 

With that in mind, the time for talk should be over. We need immediate action. This doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of government, it requires an all-of-society approach that includes government, non-governmental organizations, businesses and individuals. There are concrete actions we can take to make ourselves climate-resilient.

Cover: The Carbon BubbleCanada’s collective efforts to transition to net-zero carbon emissions are critically important. At the same time, we must double down on adapting to the extreme weather effects of climate change. Globally, the last decade was hotter than any period in the past 125,000 years, and Canada is heating at twice the global average while Canada’s arctic is heating three or four times faster. Preliminary data suggest that we need to outsmart extreme weather, rather than chasing it –- management by disaster is not a strategy.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report provides indisputable evidence that climate change is real, human-induced and effectively irreversible. Canada has a unique opportunity to lead the way on accelerating adaptation at home and on the world stage at COP26, the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow (October 31– November 12, 2021). We need immediate and aggressive deployment of adaptation and mitigation measures to limit the effects of otherwise unrelenting extreme weather and we need it now.

Procrastination is killing us.

 

 

Paul Strome

Paul Strome worked 12 years as an educator in the Northwest Territories/Nunavut where he experienced the culture, language and geographic parameters of Indigenous people. He has petitioned the government at every opportunity to bring about the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. As an elder and David Suzuki Ambassador he has championed the Blue Dot Movement in Unama’ki (Cape Breton) and in recent years was the Atlantic regional representative for the Council of Canadians.