It seems that climate change has arrived in Nelson in the guise of a very hot, dry spring, a rogue wind storm, and a forest fire. It would be helpful if media reports connected the dots from the conditions we are experiencing locally to the larger issue of global climate change.
The conditions we are experiencing are similar, though not as severe as those experienced in recent years in Australia (floods and fires), the Philippines (huge typhoons), and the US (Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy). We all need to start talking about climate change, as a first step to taking action.
Recent prophetic writings by Naomi Klein and Pope Francis explain that our fossil-fuel driven, growth at any cost economy is neither sustainable nor moral. We must work together to develop a renewable energy economy that meets our needs on a finite planet. We need to make changes in every area of our lives by making our homes and workplaces energy efficient, driving less, shopping locally, and vacationing close to home. But all of this is a drop in the bucket if we don’t have leaders at all levels of government who factor climate change into every decision and make the policy changes that will contribute to a renewable energy economy.
Our next opportunity to choose our leaders is the federal election scheduled for Oct. 19. Each of us must ask candidates and parties how they plan to deal with climate change. And everyone, who is qualified to vote, must get out and vote. A failure to vote is a vote for a continuation of the Harper government’s stance of ignoring climate change.
One hears that younger voters are disenchanted and don’t bother to vote. We must all encourage our younger relatives, friends, and neighbours to vote. Voter registration is available at ereg.elections.ca/CWelcome.aspx. Any Canadian citizen 18 years and older is eligible to vote.
Let’s make sure our new federal government becomes an international leader on climate action!
Julia M. Roberts, Nelson