Saturday, May 20, 2023

1.5° in the Next Five Years

I've been to many marches and protests for the environment. Most recently, the call to action was around changing policies enough to cut GHGs in half by 2030 in order to keep us under 1.5°C by 2100. Now we're predicted to hit that marker in the next five years!! The World Meteorological Organization thinks it will just be temporary, but it's the first time in recorded history that we've been here. Oceans are warmer and less oxygenated than ever before.  

We failed to value trees over buildings, cycling/bussing over cars, reduce/reuse over consumption, longterm survival over short term fun, and people over profits. 

We need more commercial real estate despite the discovery that people can be more productive working from home, instead pretending our homes are causing all this illness, because people make scads of money off commercial rents. We're paving over the greenbelt in order to provide luxury entertainment for a small group of people. We keep pushing electric cars instead of offering free bus/rail and making cycling safer. We glorify travel as the ultimate way to enjoy life despite it destroying our habitat in the process. 

And we're still pushing to finish that pipeline.

The Trans Mountain expansion is over 80% completed, so there's significant sunk costs there, and Alberta wants to continue backing the oil industry despite the fires currently raging there, not to mention the threats posed to Indigenous communitiess, waterways, wildlife, and the climate. 

Leadership to slow climate change needs to slow consumption and all unnecessary travel and vehicle sales. It's too late to have both a healthy climate and healthy economy, and only one choice is remotely survivable. We should have been shifting industries from oil to renewables, and from beef/dairy to beans/rice decades ago, but we didn't. We're not even pretending to protect green spaces anymore.

Six years ago, Finnish President Niinistö pointed out that "If we lose the Arctic, we lose the whole world." Snow and ice reflects significant amounts of sun. Without that, we absorb it, and the world heats up even faster to reach temperatures that aren't survivable. We're predicted to lose summer ice entirely in the next dozen years.

Covid added the chaotic moment necessary to go all in with privatization of essential services, starting with healthcare at its greatest time of need.

So now what??

It's not too late to continue (or start) to reduce our energy and consumption needs, but, looking to the future, I'm thinking of finding a place to store dried grains and beans that I can rotate, developing a water collection and storage system, and sussing out an alternative means of heat for the winter. All signs point to things going sideways, and we're no longer cohesive enough with our neighbours to drag a guillotine up to Queen's Park. 

And I'm afraid it's too late.

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