The present post has been developed as a requirement from the Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on climate change presented by the World Bank and titled: Turn Down the Heat, Why a 4C Warmer World Must Be Avoided.
My goal is to continue developing this topic in future posts, so feel free to follow me.
What follows is my small contribution to a change that requires “all hands on deck”: as the Transition Initiatives say: “If we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late; if we act as individuals, it’ll be too little; but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.”
As I live in British Columbia (Canada), my target is mainly BC residents, however, the suggestions and links below may be helpful for anybody around the world as a general guide.
What are your most important expectations, dreams and hopes for your future, that of your family and your community?
I strongly believe that no matter where we stand on the climate change issue, we all share similar expectations: those of us who are parents or grandparents, want a liveable and safe environment for our children and grandchildren. Those with no children may want exactly the same for themselves and their loved ones. Many also care for pets, vegetation and wildlife: there is nothing more refreshing and healthy than a walk into virgin woods, a clean beach, a meadow or a hike in the mountains.
Climate Change (along with resource depletion and ecosystems pollution) has the potential to shatter those dreams and expectations.
I invite you to explore the topic further and decide whether you want to be part of the problem…or part of the solution.
Climate change has already impacted other parts of the world and certainly BC has not been exempted: from decrease in glaciers and snowpack to sea level rise and warmer/drier temperatures, BC has seen the first signs of what’s to come.
According to the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, the West Coast of British Columbia may experience and increase in temperatures and drier seasons along with a decrease in snowpack and glaciers and stronger rains; all this will impact entire ecosystems such as lakes, streams and rivers. New species may become invasive and displace existing ones, new pests and diseases may attack crops, people and existent ecosystems.
With BC’s population expected to go from the current 4.5 million to 6.1 million in 2041, the above impacts will result in food insecurity, health issues and challenges for local economies as the province will struggle to meet the needs of its peoples and industries such as forestry, agriculture, fisheries and tourism would be hugely impacted.
Among other challenges, BC currently imports up to 95% of the fruits, vegetables and nuts it consumes and around 50% of these imports come from California, an area already impacted by drought and where predictions of a mega-drought would make food availability and access much more difficult.
How I see it
I see the combination of challenges ahead (of which climate change is just one among many) as symptoms of a dysfunctional relationship with our planet and other people around the world.
This combination (climate change, resources depletion, pollution, injustice, etc) may be a unique opportunity for humans to re-think what is our role in the complexity of Earth ecosystems and how we relate to each other and all the other beings with whom we share this planet. It may also be the opportunity to re-think our responsibility towards future generations, our true needs and how to manage our wants…
What individuals can do?
Climate change is already inevitable, but we can delay or mitigate its impacts with the decisions we make today, here is the most important thing you can do:
- Curious about climate change, resource depletion and how this may impact you, your loved ones and your community? Join a MOOC, take a course at your local university, take a good book from your local library or check the resources below in this post.
- Reduce your ecological footprint (you can check your current ecological footprint and get some ideas on how to reduce it here: http://footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/ )
You can learn more about what is “ecological footprint” here: http://footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/basics_introduction/
- Learn and practice Permaculture, no matter where you live, it will help you at all levels
What communities can do?
- Research what your city or town is already doing about climate change and ask how you can become involved (see at the end for a list of resources you can start with)
- Advocate for locally sourced energy that is also clean. Better if energy is own and managed by community members
- Advocate for locally produced food that is also organic: this will ensure soils, watersheds and ecosystems are kept clean and safe
- Support public transportation that is safe, inclusive and uses clean energy
- Become engaged in community resilience building projects such as community gardens, co-ops and local markets that ensure the local economy is prioritized so local people can get jobs and money stays at home
- Join local initiatives such as Transition towns or start one if none exist! (see more on transition initiatives here: https://www.transitionnetwork.org/)
References and resources:
BBC: Climate Change Around the World: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/629/629/6528979.stm
Food for Thought report http://www.phsa.ca/Documents/foodforthought_issueschallengesoffoodsecurity.pdf
IPCC (AR4- FAQ): https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/contents.html
Plant2Adapt tool and impacts in BC region : http://www.plan2adapt.ca/tools/planners?pr=0&ts=8&toy=16
Transition Initiatives: https://www.transitionnetwork.org/support/what-transition-initiative
Images courtesy of: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Concept Image Of Global Warming
- Photo byscottchan.
Cracked Earth With Grass
- Photo byStoonn.
Future Is A Big Problem
- Photo bymapichai.
- Photo bywinnond
- Photo bySimon Howden
Mother And Young Daughter Planting Vegetable In Home Garden Fiel
- Photo bykhunaspix
Hand Holding Smart Phone Against
- Photo bypannawat.