Climate Change: The Biggest Challenge or Opportunity of Our Times?


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.

Cracked Earth With Grass Photo by Stoonn.

Cracked Earth With Grass
Photo by Stoonn.

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.

The Issue

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.

The Facts

Future Is A Big Problem Photo by mapichai

Future Is A Big Problem
Photo by mapichai

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.

The Future

Concept Image Of Global Warming Photo by scottchan

Concept Image Of Global Warming
Photo by scottchan

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

Candle Light by Antokr Stock Photo - image ID: 100165673 from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Candle Light by Antokr Stock Photo – image ID: 100165673 from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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?

Mother And Young Daughter Planting Vegetable In Home Garden Fiel Photo by khunaspix

Mother And Young Daughter Planting Vegetable In Home Garden Fiel
Photo by khunaspix

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?

Dunsmuir Community Gardens

Dunsmuir Community Gardens

  • 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:

Hand Holding Smart Phone Against  Photo by pannawat.

Hand Holding Smart Phone Against
Photo by pannawat.

AR5: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/

BBC: Climate Change Around the World: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/629/629/6528979.stm

BC Stats: http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/Demography/PopulationProjections.aspx

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

PCIC: http://www.pacificclimate.org/analysis-tools/plan2adapt

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/

Listed:
Concept Image Of Global Warming

Cracked Earth With Grass

Future Is A Big Problem

Windmill

Carrot Harvest

Mother And Young Daughter Planting Vegetable In Home Garden Fiel

Hand Holding Smart Phone Against

 

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About Silvia TIC

Welcome to these exercises inside the dimensions of what we are: we are what we dream and think and feel, but we are also the different characters we perform, not just the roles (mother, wife, friend), but those things we call “occupations” or “earning a life”. More than anything, we are part of a giant ecosystem and all what we do connects and impacts others (people, animals, plants, air, water...)

Posted on May 20, 2015, in Activism, Carbon Detox, Carbon Emissions, Civic Ecology, Climate Change, Community Assessment, Community Building, Community Engagement, Community Resilience, Community Resources, Coursera, Empowering, Energy Descent Action Plan, Environmental Issues, Future, Future Scenarios, MOOC, New Economy, No Waste Living, Pay It Forward, Permaculture, Resilience, Resilient Living and Choices, Right Livelihood, Simply Living, Social Justice, Sustainable Living, Transition, Transition Initiatives and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on The grokking eagle.

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  2. Abigail Moore

    Thought provoking post, Sylvia. By the way, I was intrigued by the Internet defence league badge – it seems it is only for people with websites. But I also feel VERY strongly about protecting our internet access! Many educational resources are blocked by Indonesian censors, including a lot of material for Future Learn courses (not so many for Coursera and EDX). I was surprised to learn in UK also! For so many people, internet is the window on the world. For me it is vital, it means access to the resources I need to do my job as an educator, access to ongoing education and knowledge, and communication with my family on the far side of the world…

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    • I’ve been a long-time activist for openness and access to information since I was a teacher back in Venezuela and used Linux to teach children and teenagers about open source software and its meaning in terms of right to be informed and change the tools to fit your needs.
      I’m very happy to see MOOCs are accessible to most people, they should be so to EVERYBODY and we should try to influence for more MOOCs on practical stuff people need to be exposed to for their own survival and improving their lives…

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      • Abigail Moore

        I couldn’t agree more – from your pages I think you could do a great one… including some of the wonderful stuff on the permaculture site! Maybe on permaculture in different climates (seems you know about tropical and temperate) and food preserving without many modern conveniences like freezers…

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