LATEST

GINTA – It’s not summer that brings killer heat waves but climate change

Lytton, before and after fire. (Image: Chilliwack Fire Dept. member)

I STARTED WRITING this column with a different angle. It was about trees in urban settings and their vital role in helping us survive extreme summer temperatures. I’ll leave that for a future piece because there is something more pressing that needs to be said.

The town of Lytton is on fire as I write this. Literally. After three days of 49 degrees Celsius, which is ungodly in most people’s opinion, a large and fast-moving fire has forced everyone out of their homes. Some ran out of their homes while the roof was already on fire.

It’s heartbreaking though the word does not encompass everything there needs to be said about this. And it’s way past the time to acknowledge the elephant in the room. It has been said already and it is worth repeating: this is one of the horrible scenarios created by climate change.

To still call this summer (some do) and dismiss the present heat waves (and others to come) as normal is not right. Summer may soften the pavement, and it may send people to seek shade. It does not, however, kill them in hundreds, not does it fry an entire town to a crisp.

It does not create nightmares. Summer is fun, not deadly. Summer is when crops abound rather than getting scorched by a merciless sun. Yet the sun is not at fault. It just does its thing.

And heat waves don’t just happen; they are brought upon by the way human activity influences the environment. Yes, Kamloops and other places in the Interior have always been hot in the summer (this is a desert after all) but 47 or worse yet, 49 degrees Celsius, is no joke.

The impact on human life has been devastating and revealing of social inequalities. Also, let’s not forget that animals, whether wild critters, pets or farm animals are suffering alongside, many of them dying as we speak.

Climate change is not an invented concept that opposes progress, nor is it a contrarian view or some hippy agenda. It’s a horrifying reality that claims lives and destroys entire towns.

It has to be acknowledged as such, because when we all do that, we bring ourselves together to a place where we can work together and rely on each other to change things or, at least, as much as possible, mitigate the effect of this crisis. Because that’s what it is and one that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

The city of Kamloops has adopted the Community Climate Action Plan as of this week, which is set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community by 80% by 2050. That is a much-needed step forward which has to have us all work together if we are to see all the changes happen.

Meanwhile, here we are, witnesses to human tragedy and it is not even the end of June. The air is thick with smoke and getting thicker by the hour, and there’s much helplessness as we think of the people who are being evacuated, many of whom will lose everything they have, and also of the firefighters who are just like the rest of us, immersed in a heat wave and, on top of it, fighting fast-growing, out-of-control fires.

Let’s not argue anymore over whether this is normal summer weather or not. It’s not. Arguing will not make the reality of climate change go away; it will only diminish our collective efforts in dealing with its effects, it will blot out empathy and it will ultimately prevent us from seeing the proverbial forest for the trees.

And we need to see, to acknowledge and then to implement change. Everything we are depends on it.

Daniela Ginta is a mother, scientist, writer and blogger. She can be reached at daniela.ginta@gmail.com, or through her blog at http://www.thinkofclouds.com.

About Mel Rothenburger (8330 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on GINTA – It’s not summer that brings killer heat waves but climate change

  1. From my house I could see the fire in Juniper to the east, and to the west I can see the construction on the pipeline. Whatever climate change plan that we have at the moment amounts to a giant contradiction.

    One can blame gov’t, but really the problem is us. We are stubbornly determined as individuals to make ourselves more comfortable, at the cost of the greater good.

    Climate action plans are just words on paper if no-one changes their behaviour. It’s all very nice to have a “plan” for 2050, but that’s assuming Kamloops is still here.

  2. Reducing gas emissions by 80% by 2050 is a total joke and not an ambitious plan. The senior level of government have pledge 2035 by the way. But the important thing to remember is we will not make a positive impact on the earth overall by buying EV and recycling and composting on a larger scale. The patterns of consumerism need to change and the City should be at the forefront of that, starting immediately.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: