The connection between the typhoon that struck the Philippines on November 9 and the cumulative effects of climate change has been emphasized repeatedly since the tragedy occurred.
Increased and unregulated use of fossil fuels causes climate change and unpredictable changes in the weather.
One of the ironies in all of this is that the greatest source of wealth produced in Alberta is due to extracting and use of fossil fuels, a major source of environmental pollution.
Canada’s impact on climate change is relatively small, about 2 per cent of global output, significantly smaller than larger polluters like the U.S. and China.
Yet, we are not isolated from the cumulative effects of climate change. Though in November it was the Philippines which was massively impacted, tomorrow it might be us.
On a day to day basis, abstract scientific evidence rarely stirs us enough to make lifestyle and behavioral changes. That is the stickler. What often motivates us instead are immediate and dramatic threats like 9/11, which mobilized the US and others nations in two wars, or personal loss that seemed a driving force in the creation of the organization Mothers Against Drunk Drivers(MADD).
Is it in our nature to be only moved to change as a result of personal danger? Hopefully not.
Environmentalist David Suzuki, now in his mid-70’s, is cutting back on his past involvement in environmental activism in part because of age but also due, I suspect, because of the deep polarization in the environmental debate.
Sometimes the discussion has become venomous and respectful communication is difficult or impossible. Hopefully we are not turned off by that debate or are so self consumed that we cannot spare at least a thought a week to the environment we live in, like on the traditional Sunday, when we recollect ourselves, appreciate where we are, and think of what we can preserve of the spectacular earth we live on.