We can’t seem to catch a break. Just as the world begins to emerge from the grip of the pandemic, more uncertainty strikes with a vengeance as the horrific images of the war in Ukraine stream across our phones, tablets and televisions.
With all that bad news on every channel, it’s little wonder the report from the International Panel on Climate Change, released on February 27th, received little in the way of coverage. Two hundred and seventy representatives and climate scientists from 195 countries, including Canada, authored or approved this report.
The report is warning in the strongest terms yet, that we are not on track to keep temperature levels from rising above the safe limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It’s also telling us that we are woefully unprepared to deal with the consequences of climate impacts that the science indicates can no longer be avoided. According to the report’s authors, “Any further delay…on [climate change] adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”.
When faced with bad news from seemingly every direction our natural reaction is to seek shelter and then focus on the immediate threat. For most of us, we are already doing what we can to reduce the COVID risk. We continue to wear our masks, socially distance and exercise caution in our activities, even as health mandates are eased. As far as the war in Ukraine is concerned, other than sending prayers and money to the Red Cross, (or other legitimate charity), there is little most of us can do to affect the course or the outcome.
The threat from climate change to our freedoms and our livelihoods may not be as apparent as war or disease, but it is just as real. We are already seeing the changes. For instance our fruits and vegetables are now coming from farther afield as climate related disasters, including wildfires in California and frosts and floods in Florida hit familiar sources.
Small changes make a difference
In the case of climate change, there are things we can do right here in in Brampton to slow down the rate of change and to prepare for the likely scenarios resulting from a warming world.
According to Ko Bennett, a vice-chair and senior advisor for climate at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the IPCC report emphasizes the importance of doing everything that we can to give us time to make the shift to a sustainable energy future. She says, “Every fraction of a degree of warming matters and every action helps.” 1
That could be as simple as not idling your car or warming it up in the morning before you leave. Deciding to walk or ride a bicycle to go to the local store. Taking transit instead of driving. All these little things add up to a big difference if everyone does it.
It also means being aware of things going on in your community that are either threats or benefits to the environment. That’s one of the reasons why the Brampton Environmental Alliance was created. To make it easier for the average Brampton resident to stay informed on local environmental issues and actions.
So please, stay tuned to the BEA Weekly newsletter and encourage your friends and family to subscribe. We will do our best to keep you accurately informed on the important environmental issues facing our community, on the actions you can take and, on the successes we can all celebrate!
1, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-humanity-unprepared-for-impacts-of-climate-change-un-report/ https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-humanity-unprepared-for-impacts-of-climate-change-un-report/