Throughout September and October, there are events relating to climate change happening in almost, if not all major cities. From Greta Thunberg’s impassioned speech given at the UN’s Climate Change Summit to the Global Climate Strike, it’s hard to ignore this push to thrust the consequences of climate change into the forefront and inspire people to act.
While we live pretty comfortably in our small corner of the world, there’s cities across the globe that are facing real-time consequences due to the warming of the earth. Just recently, we witnessed Hurricane Dorian pummel the Bahamas with an unprecedented destructive force of nature, killing over 50 people. In India, the growing urban population is dealing with water scarcity in most major cities due to a combination of depleting glacial sources, mismanagement of resources and water contamination.
These are only two examples out of thousands that exist, with the number continuing to rise as we put off mitigating the effects of climate change. And, if you aren’t aware by now, climate change is not imminent or in the far-off future — it’s happening now. While it may seem insurmountable to be burdened with the heavy load of fixing our entire planet by 2050, you can start with the first step: educating yourself.
Educate yourself about what climate change is, how it manifests itself and what actions aggravate the problem. Listen to diverse perspectives from as many different social and economic backgrounds as possible. The topic of climate change can be overwhelming, saddening, confusing and contradictory in some cases, so it’s important that you read literature, watch video clips and engage with media from a range of credible sources. Question who released the information and what their motivation could potentially be. Understand that having a reductionist standpoint can be limiting and harmful as we try to tackle socio-economic issues that have been worsened by the effects of climate change. Be informed, and most importantly, be active in the climate change discussion.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to carry this fervour and momentum forward into our upcoming federal election. The decision you make on October 21 will be essential in how our country responds to climate change in the next five years, which will be a crucial time in laying the framework for our survival on this planet. One of the best ways you can mitigate climate change is by investing your tax dollars into worthy causes. Now, it’s becoming more costly to deal with the effects of climate change than to invest in mitigation techniques. Elect a candidate that you feel will be fearless in their quest to reduce emissions. These next years may be uncomfortable and different from our parents’ young adulthood, but these changes are essential for the health of ourselves and our planet.
It may seem that Canada is impermeable to climate change, but in the coming years, our country will experience some of the most drastic temperature rises on the globe, which will lead to negative impacts on our agriculture industry, economy and way of living. In Calgary, alone, it’s estimated that we’ll hit our daily limit for water usage by 2036 due to a mix of a rise in population, hotter summer temperatures and depleting glacial sources due to global warming.
This is our plea for you to become the most engaged and politically active you’ve ever been — you must demand more from your government and yourself.
—Mariah Wilson, Gauntlet Editorial Board