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LETTER: If you have ever wondered

From reader Ron Robinson
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Nelson, B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

If you have ever wondered what it feels like when your entire community is consumed by fire, read John Vaillant’s Fire Weather, a chronicle of the 2016 Fort McMurray fire. There was a set of conditions making that event more likely.

If you ever wondered about Hurricane Katrina in 2005, read Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell. There too were a set of conditions making that event more likely.

If you ever wondered about how oceans become acidic, read Jean-Pierre Gattuso’s book Ocean Acidification. Whether blowing through a straw into a glass of water or opening a can of soda you have experienced what happens when you dissolve carbon dioxide in water, you get carbonic acid.

The oceans sequester most of the industrial carbon dioxide we add to the atmosphere. That same carbon dioxide plays a role in helping to create and maintain an insulating blanket in the atmosphere, retaining heat that would normally re-radiate back to space. That heat not only warms the oceans but provides the energy to drive extreme weather events, from wild fires to hurricanes to pounding rains and floods. It’s a dynamic system called climate and it has been disrupted by human activity regardless of what you might have read in social media.

If you ever wondered about the seeming inertia around climate mitigation policies, ask your elected representatives at all levels. In the Kootenays there is some hope. The RDCK has shared a draft of their Climate Action Plan with five pathways that collectively would reduce the conditions that make events like those above less likely — dealing with the causes to avoid the effects.

As residents we play a key role in this process. Plans only work if implemented and understanding those plans creates the conditions to make implementation more likely.

Ron Robinson

Nelson