Greta Thunberg graduated from high school on June 9, 2023. It’s hard to believe that she began her weekly Friday school walkouts five years ago. Sadly, during this time period we have not taken the decisive action she has called for to avert a climate collapse.
Wildfires are burning as never before all across Canada. Here in B.C., monster blazes threaten whole communities, force the evacuation of thousands of residents, and endanger wildlife habitats. As of June 19th, the Donnie Creek wildfire has grown to be the largest wildfire ever recorded in B.C. – covering an estimated 5,343 estimated kilometres. It was only two years ago that a wildfire burned 90% of the community of Lytton B.C. to the ground in only a few hours.
Unfortunately, it is too rare that the media talk about climate warming when reporting on the terrible wildfire threat facing almost every province.
It now appears as though the Arctic will be entirely ice free in summers by the 2030s, ten years earlier than previously predicted. The Arctic has been experiencing climate heating faster than any other part of our planet, and the consequences of the resulting ice melt could be catastrophic. For example:
- Arctic sea ice dramatically reduces ocean warming by reflecting rather than absorbing sunlight. Reducing the ice coverage is now adding to ocean temperatures, further increasing ice melt and threatening a rise in sea levels. Coastal communities around the world are at risk of being flooded – some will be entirely submerged. Coastal B.C. will be severely affected. As early as 2017, maps produced by Climate Central, a scientific non-profit based in New Jersey, were predicting that Richmond, Delta, and parts of rural Abbotsford and Coquitlam could be permanently underwater by 2100. Parts of Vancouver could also be submerged, including areas bordering English Bay and False Creek, and Vancouver International Airport.
- It is becoming increasingly clear that the melting of ice sheets worsens extreme weather and causes changes in climate patterns. Canada is already experiencing unprecedented intense weather events, leading to heat waves, floods and storms, and increasingly, massive wildfires. In 2021 for example, C. experienced extreme heat during early summer — resulting in more than 650 deaths — followed by an extreme rainfall event that November, which led to massive flooding and numerous landslides — destroying lives, homes, roads, and communities.
- An underappreciated consequence of the Arctic ice melt and climate change overall is its increasing catastrophic impact on wildlife and our planet’s ecosystem. We ignore this loss of biodiversity at our peril. Naturalist David Attenborough has stressed for years that our environment, wildlife, climate, and humankind are all interconnected. Drastic changes to any aspect of our global ecosystem have implications for us all. As it is, we have continued to ignore the repeated warnings from scientists such as Attenborough that every part of our world is now under threat.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Greta Thunberg who has done more than anyone I can think of to draw attention to our looming climate catastrophe.
Now it is up to us.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (July 6, 2023): 422.47ppm
One year ago (July 4, 2022): 419.99ppm
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