Editorial: Climate shaken

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It seems many of us need to be truly shaken up to have the reality of our warming planet be felt in our bones. 

This shaking happened twice last year, as we were forced to adapt to a deadly heat dome last June and an atmospheric river dousing the province in November. Along with having terminology only on the tongues of meteorologists enter common parlance, we had to take actions foreign to many of us. 

Perhaps it hit some of us as we lay on our floors draped in towels fresh out of the freezer, hurried to the hardware store to find supplies of fans wiped clean or doused our sweltering pets in baby pools or bathtubs. 

From July to November we were once again able to file the warming climate back into the “deal with it later” tab at the back of the filing cabinet, until it became an embodied experience again. 

In November around 100 Isabella Point Road families sheltered in place amidst flooded roadways, gaping holes once again dotted grocery store shelves, and for weeks after we all had to slow down and bump ourselves over patched up road washouts on Fulford-Ganges Road. 

These experiences did for many what hearing about the tragic loss of lives – 619 killed in the heat dome, at least five in the atmospheric river – perhaps couldn’t. They succeeded in a few short weeks in doing what the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s increasingly dire, catastrophic projections had been trying to accomplish for over three decades.

Okay, we’re shaken up. Now what? Local organizations have understood that despair is not enough, action must follow. 

Thanks to the actions of many, we now have a solid local climate action plan and ways individuals can adapt to a warming planet. 

The End Climate Delay event this Saturday at 2 p.m. in Centennial Park is one more way to act, together with other community members. The gathering will mark the deadly climate events last year with local stories from the heat dome and floods, as well as expert speakers and music. It follows similar anniversary events happening in cities across Canada, all geared to local action and pressure on the federal government to enable a just transition to renewable energy sources. 

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