Today I think I finally connected the dots.
Up till now, I hadn’t fully grasped just how many day-to-day reorderings are directly related to global warming. Not just the extreme weather events that become headlines but, perhaps even more importantly, so many smaller, local changes are directly related to the climate crisis.
Scientists now report that British Columbia’s native cold-water mussels are at risk as the oceans’ acidity and temperatures continue to increase due to climate change. The connective fibres that enable these creatures to stick to rocks are being weakened by these changing conditions. If oceans acidify and temperatures continue to worsen, as predicted, our native cold-water mussels will disappear.
Burns Bog, once again, has burned. Human activities along with our ever-hotter, drier conditions (April and May were much drier than normal this year) are lowering water levels in the bog. The irony here is that when Burns Bog burns, like it did earlier this month and back in 2005, a huge amount of carbon is released into the atmosphere — much more than with a regular forest fire because peatland bogs are the planet’s biggest carbon sinks.
But all is not bad news.
One change related to global warming is actually welcome news — the launch of Vancouver’s new bike share program, Mobi. This allows folks to ride from Point A to Point B without taking the bike home. Instead, you leave it at your destination for the next person to use. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this initiative will help continue the significant increase in bike trips we’ve witnessed in our city. My dream for the future is a Vancouver where cars take a backseat and bike trips are as high as they are in many European jurisdictions.
So it isn’t just the kind of extreme events like the Fort McMurray fire that should bring the climate crisis home to us. It’s the many small, local, immediate changes that we need to recognize and take steps to deal with — from jumping on a bike instead of hopping in a vehicle, to voting for the strong leaders who will do the right thing.