Photo: Climate change: back to reality

(Photo credit: Center for American Progress Action Fund via Flickr).

By Jean-Patrick Toussaint, Manager of Science Projects, David Suzuki Foundation; and Peter Schiefke, National Director of Climate Reality Project Canada

Imagine a world where food is scarce, not in one single country, but in many, because of severe, prolonged drought. Imagine a world where it gets harder and harder to find drinking water because rivers have dried up and now barely exist.

Now imagine a world where cultivated fields are flooded because of heavy rains, where there is so much water that the harvests are ruined, and your only source of income gets washed away. In this same world, extreme weather conditions are more frequent and more intense. Some countries have trouble getting back on their feet after being hit by terrible weather, again and again.

Imagine that these problems last so long that millions of people must leave their homes to find refuge in countries with better weather. Where will these people go? Will they be treated fairly and equitably?

These scenarios seem apocalyptic, don't they? Yet this is reality for tens of millions of people around the world — right now!

Why should we care?

Let's go back to the beginning.

Imagine a province where heavy rains are so bad that thousands of people must leave their homes because of massive flooding, and where tides are so high that chunks of road are swept away. Imagine a city where life is usually good until a heat wave shows up every summer and causes thousands of deaths. Is this starting to sound familiar?

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Who is at fault here? Although there are many guilty parties, there is one common denominator: the impact of climate change because of human-created greenhouse gas emissions.

The reality of climate change has been tangible over the past few decades. This reality has been recognized by the scientific community and by millions of people (talk to the inhabitants of northern Quebec or the Maldives who are affected by melting glaciers and rising sea levels).

Above our heads, a dark cloud tries to mask this reality. People in the fossil fuel industry have been spending millions of dollars on campaigns to influence people's perceptions of the reality of climate change. This is why many international negotiations have failed to bring about solid legislation to battle climate change.

This said, we have taken many initiatives to address the situation. The David Suzuki Foundation is part of a promising movement in Canada and the rest of North America: The Climate Reality Project Canada.

Founded in 2007 by Nobel laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project, in collaboration with the David Suzuki Foundation, has successfully brought this climate emergency to public attention, and has provided solutions to millions of people around the world, 400,000 of them in Canada.

The David Suzuki Foundation and The Climate Reality Project Canada invite you to our massive movement on September 14 and 15 for 24 Hours of Reality. Al Gore and 23 international presenters, including Karel Mayrand, Director of the David Suzuki Foundation in Quebec, will speak about the reality of climate change and offer possible solutions to fight this planetary phenomenon.

Climate change is not your fault because of the car you drive, the lights you turn on, or the food you eat. The climate crisis is our collective problem. Together, we can get back to reality and make a difference!

For more information visit Climate Reality Project's 24 Hours of Reality webpage.


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September 8, 2011
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/climate-blog/2011/09/climate-change-back-to-reality/

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1 Comment

Sep 29, 2011
1:51 PM

Imagine a world where food is scarce, not in one single country, but in many, because of severe, prolonged winter. Imagine a world where it gets harder and harder to find drinking water because rivers have frozen over and now barely exist.

Now imagine a world where cultivated fields are useless because of heavy snows, where there is so much snow that the harvests are ruined, and your only source of income gets frozen. In this same world, extreme weather conditions are more frequent and more intense. Some countries have trouble getting back on their feet after being hit by terrible weather, again and again. It goes both ways now doesn't it? Imagine not seeing the blue of the skies for weeks and months on end because the suns activity has slowed, allowing cosmic radiation to create untold amounts of cloud. Better to tell both sides of any story than to climb up on soap boxes and tell the world to "repent sinners, repent", while they might possibly freeze. It would be intersting to see what would happen to the "warmers" if the cold became the problem. All that time, money and energy spent to make things worse than if it was left alone.

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