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Letter to the editor: A worsening climate crises

Letter to the editor: A worsening climate crises

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Fires erupted across Canada’s western provinces and Northern Ontario in the summer 2021. The smoke from the north travelled down to Southwestern Ontario, transforming the summer sun to a hazy orange glow. A severe drought in Manitoba forced farmers to sell large portions of their herds as they found it difficult to provide water and feed for their livestock. The fields were left barren and unproductive after the driest July in 150-years. In Europe, communities continue to reel from the catastrophic flooding of mid-July, which incurred €2.55 billion in damage and the loss of 229 lives. Canadians became familiar with the stories about torrential waters after the floods that struck B.C. this past fall, as well as in the weeks leading up to January 2022.

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On June 29, 2021, Lytton B.C., was 49.6 C. That is halfway to boiling. People will die simply from going outside, as a result of the continued warming in some parts of the globe. Lytton was destroyed by the fire, which scorched 513 square kilometers. This is about the same area that was covered by Shakespeare, St. Marys Mitchell, and Brunner. Imagine if all of Sebringville and Kinkora, Gads Hill and Stratford were torched?

I was born and raised on a farm in Perth County. I now live with a farming family. I’m a 2021 graduate of the University of Guelph, which was an agricultural school at its genesis. I am well aware of the impacts of weather on farming communities’ livelihoods. My dad used to check the radar every morning while I drank my coffee. The weather can make or break a rural community’s economy. I worry about the future of the farming communities that depend on the weather to feed the world. The droughts in Western Canada represent just one example of the many natural disasters that are likely to follow.

We cannot afford to not act. If we fail to address the glaring climate crisis, we will all be more affected in the coming years. This is not about saving the earth. After we’re gone, the planet will continue to exist. The planet will continue to exist after we are gone. New species will arrive and adapt to the mess we have made. This is about saving us. The climate crisis is not a distant problem that will affect future generations. It is already happening and will continue to get worse.

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I urge readers, as members of this community, to speak out and demand immediate action. We are all someone’s sibling, father, mother, brother, sister or friend. Think about how your children, family members, and youth will grow up in a world where our current actions have had a negative impact on their lives. What do you want them reflect on?

The UN climate report 2021 states that we must take the following steps to prevent irreparable environmental damage.

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  • End fossil fuel extraction
  • Protect and restore natural carbon sinks (spaces which absorb atmospheric carbons such as forests)
  • By 2030, quadruple the capacity of solar and wind and triple renewable energy investment;
  • Reduce methane emissions by a great deal

Canada responded quickly to March 2020’s public-health crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. We need to show that we are capable and willing to take this action in another emergency. This one affects not only public health, but also our economy, our quality-of-life, and our very existence on the planet. This emergency isn’t going away if we just close our eyes. Even in blindness, we still feel the heat.

Sydney Timmermans Stratford

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