This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (NOAA via AP) This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. EDT. (NOAA via AP)

Column: If not now, when will we make the changes needed to stop global warming?

The thought of our children or grandchildren suffering from the ravages of climate change are unbearable to think about, too frightening to consider. So we don’t.

It’s a little like being a child with that monster under the bed.

It’s there, always in the corner of your mind, never allowing you to completely relax, to feel safe.

You can curl up tightly in the covers, immerse yourself in a book, think of other things, but it’s still there.

It’s only when you buck up your courage, roll onto your stomach and slowly, shakily, lower your head over the edge of the bed, and take an upside-down look below the mattress that things change.

The fear shifts. The monster in your mind relinquishes some of its power.

Climate change is a bit like that.

Forest fires rage, rivers flood, temperatures spike and fall to extremes, tornadoes and hurricanes blow, but we skip down the garden path, our shiny new pipeline under our arm, the gold coins from LNG jingling in our pockets. Still, we can’t quite relax and enjoy.

The thought of our children or grandchildren suffering from the ravages of climate change are unbearable to think about, too frightening to consider. So we don’t.

Related: UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning

On Monday, however, the scientists of the world demanded we take a look. A hard look.

If we refuse to look we remain immobilized, powerless, distracted.

These scientists are not an extreme group out to frighten people.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries, using more than 6,000 scientific references, prepared The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. They are the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group invited to make a report for the United Nations on climate change and what can be done.

If we humans continue on the path we are on, heedlessly releasing greenhouse gases into the air, the planet will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures by 2030 – just 12 years from now.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree Celsius of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of one IPCC working group.

Related: Canada needs to cut its emissions almost in half: UN

The report provides policy makers with the information they need to tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs.

“The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” states Debra Roberts, another working group co-chair.

So whether we’re environmentalists or not, whether we need the funds provided by the oil industry or not, this report is for all of us.

We all depend on the earth and, more importantly, so do the generations who follow.

If we’re not going to make substantial and decisive changes now, when are we?

Martha Wickett is a reporter with the Salmon Arm Observer.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Abbotsford Hospice Society holds community scavenger hunt

Road to Gratitude event takes place on Sunday, July 19 by the carload

New book celebrates people and events that shaped Abbotsford

Pre-sales launched for Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry, to be released in fall

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read