Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

21 Nov 2021

The future will not be friendly

Posted by Michael Keating

Human history has been a quest make life better; to produce better shelter, more food, good health care and personal safety. Now one of the main tools we used to build a better world – energy from burning fossil fuels – is starting to destroy our civilization. The pollution from coal, oil and gas is creating climate disruption like nothing we have seen in modern history. Heat waves, droughts, fires, floods and giant storms have burned whole towns to the ground and flooded out others. Hundreds have died in the heat, fire and floods. Just last week historic rainfall in British Columbia sent mudslides down hills. Roads and rail lines were cut. Cars were swept off roads and people killed. Hundreds had to be rescued by military helicopters. Floods submerged towns and killed thousands of farm animals. The whole southwest coast of the province was cut off from land transportation to the rest of the country. Food supplies were disrupted and fuel rationed.

BC highway cut by mudslide

This is just one example of how climate change is going to upend our lives. Fires and floods ravaged parts of Europe and North America this year while historic droughts cut food production in parts of western North America. In parts of the world, particularly in Africa years of drought are turning hunger into starvation. Millions of animals are dying in forest fires and heat waves, even in the oceans. Tropical diseases are moving out of the tropics as the world warms.

We have changed the world’s climate and now it is changing us. The earth’s temperature has risen 1.1 C since the start of the industrial revolution a couple of centuries ago. With current promises for pollution cuts by governments around the world it is still on track to rise by 2.4 degrees this century. Scientists warn we have only a few years to reduce our climate changing emissions enough to stave off even more disastrous effects. It will require historic changes in human behaviour. It’s a classic example of pay now or pay more later.

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