My take on the Climate emergency

Last spring, my husband and I decided we wanted to move so we bought another house that needed tender loving care. We took possession in August embarking on a major renovation project that has kept me away from painting and writing. We are in our tenth week of renovations and are grateful we are not living there yet. After a crazy busy summer and fall, I am really looking forward to getting back to normal.

Photo taken by drone of the Montral march for climate Sept 27, 2019 –
Photo prise par drone de la marche pour le climat à Monréal le 27 sept 2019.
See @GretaThunberg on Twitter
Voir @GretaThunberg sur Twitter

There has been much going on since I last posted on this blog, and much I wanted to comment about, especially the walk for climate in Montreal where more than 500 000 people mobilized to send a clear message to our leaders. With Greta Thunberg present at our march, the beautiful weather on our side, schools that had let students off for the day so they could participate, the atmosphere was electric and optimistic, hopeful that the message would finally be heard, hopeful in its solidarity and understanding that it is high time that we must take massive action.

I started this blog almost 13 years ago and my main goal then was to talk about environment and educate about the simple actions we can all take as individuals to make our world a better place. We have to stop thinking, saying and acting as if it is someone else’s problem or responsibility. Yes the government must take action, lead and make tough decisions but individuals do have a role to play.

Canada is warming up at double the rate of the rest of the world.  Near the Artic circle, Siberia and Alaska, there is a large amount of ice which reflects the sun into space thus regulating the temperature. With this ice melting, the reflecting surface is being reduced and more light is being absorbed in the darker water causing temperatures to rise. This effect will only intensify with northern Canada warming up a lot more as time goes by.

Since 1948 the temperature here has risen by 3F (1.66C) forcing the federal government to impose a carbon tax after the provinces failed to reach their carbon reduction targets. Up until October 21st we were in the midst of an election where two of the candidates’ first action if elected would have been to cancel this tax. They didn’t make it but it is indeed very sad that one of the only things people focus on is their own pocket and their comfort.

Another factor that affects the north is the permafrost that is melting, destabilizing infrastructures, houses and other structures. More importantly, permafrost is a huge storage of carbon matter. When it thaws and this matter warms up and decomposes, it releases the carbon that it holds as greenhouse gasses, namely CO2 and methane. Permafrost soils contain about twice as much carbon as earth’s atmosphere and scientists are telling us this melting trend is not reversible.

What happens in the Artic does not stay in the Artic as they say. Scenarios with limited warming will only occur if Canada and the rest of the world reduce carbon emissions to near 0 early in the second half of the century and reduce the emissions of other green house gasses substantially.

Oceans too are in crisis. Since the end of the pre-industrial era, oceans have absorbed about 29 percent of global CO2 emissions.  All this carbon pollution is changing the ocean’s chemistry, slowing its ability to uptake CO2, making it more acidic and harming shellfish and other marine life we depend on. (https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/co2-and-ocean-acidification). Becoming increasingly acidic, means reduced oxygen and the emergence of dead zones where oxygen is so depleted nothing can live. Furthermore, flooding causes pesticides to go into oceans causing algae blooms that are also contributing to dead zones. Oceans store 93% of the excess heat we are creating but as they warm this will be reduced.

We have to bear in mind that it is not too late if we all work together. We, governments as well as individuals, must set aside conflicts and protectionism. The thing is, we have known about this for the last 30 years and not much has been done to reverse the accelerating trend. The earth must be protected by all. Countries must work together.

It is my hope that we will accomplish this for the future , our children and our grand-children..

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Enviroart par Suzanne Bélair

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