This past summer I joined the Climate Reality Project, which is driven by one simple truth: the climate crisis is real, and we know how to fight it. Around the world, more people are being affected all the time by drought and heat waves, storms and floods, rising seas exceeded only by rising disaster costs. I am just one of over 5 million Project members and supporters working to spread the word about the causes, and solutions, for this climate crisis; you can be part of it, too!
The International Panel on Climate Change recently released a report gathering and summarizing applicable science showing a 95% chance that we humans are the primary cause of today’s changed and changing climate. While weather varies year-by-year, giving ammunition to those who choose specific hot or cold years to generate a fog of doubt, the overall trend is crystal clear: our planet is warming and the amount of extra greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide) that we have dumped into the atmosphere is a significant factor.
The simple underlying cause is that fossil fuels have provided a wealth of progress, but also left in their wake a chemically-transformed atmosphere. So long as we only value the benefits they generate but leave out the costs, our economy will be distorted in favour of fossil energy. Finding ways to measure the costs of carbon pollution, then include it into our budgeting process, is the surest way to guide us to a more judicious use of energy, to reduce waste and scale back overheated growth.
Wherever we are in the world, the changing climate has serious impacts, even here in Barrie where we get fewer days of ice on Kempenfelt Bay every year, see green Christmases followed by repeated heavy dumps of lake-effect snow from unfrozen lake surfaces, and endure summer heat waves and downpours exceeding previous records.
What is needed is not a one-way or top-down approach; both the problem and the solutions involve people in different industries, on all continents, of diverse ages and talents. The Climate Reality Project is an ongoing global conversation bringing people together to share knowledge, ask and answer questions, find myriad ways to solve problems and cooperate in many directions.
We need you in this conversation! Sign up at 24HoursofReality.org for updates and view the live webcast of 24 Hours of Reality: The Cost of Carbon starting at 8 AM on October 22nd. Last year’s program set records with over 16 million views, and this year can smash that record. Let your friends know this is coming, and discuss it on Facebook or Twitter with the #CostofCarbon tag.
This year’s program will focus on the impacts carbon pollution is having on people’s lives around the world, beginning in North America and moving through South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia over the course of 6 program hours before beginning the cycle again at 2 PM. Stories will look at superstorms, flooding, droughts and wildfires leading to crop losses, food insecurity, destroyed infrastructure, displaced communities, and growing effects on health.
You don’t want to miss this conversation, so be sure to tune in on Tuesday to witness powerful images of today’s climate and join our future of solutions.UPDATE: Please watch this wonderful message from Rick Mercer to Saugeen Secondary, which hosted a special 24 Hours of Reality event.
Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner.
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a certified member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.