By: DDA Executive Director Alanna Hendren
Just when we thought a viral, global epidemic that only the likes of our distant ancestors had experienced, fires caused by Global Warming are raging through North America, Europe, Siberia, North Africa and Israel like they never have before. Fires had already destroyed parts of Australia during their summer season. In the meantime, the planet is also experiencing more floods and rising sea levels, like the one that indirectly caused a waterfront building to collapse in Miami.
The United Nations released a report in the middle of all this that basically said our house, Earth, is on fire, the warming that is causing these fires and rising sea levels has been fueled by humans, and we must eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels immediately. Even if we could do this, some of the wounds we’ve already inflicted on Mother Nature could take 1,000 years to heal.
It is clear that we need to kill the oil industry and use advanced technology to let that happen without total global disruption. But the people in charge of oil in the world – dictators, tyrants, corrupt politicians, trans-national corporations – have a great deal of power to keep us oil-dependent and show no interest in giving it up. The situation seems hopeless, but one rather feeble power some of us still have left have is the vote. Environmental messages and the warnings of indigenous elders who know the land don’t seem to work but if we held our politicians accountable for sacrificing much of the life on our planet for the sake of oil and a few fast bucks, it could be a start.
This effort would have to be international but if it is not expended, all humankind will be lost. We know this now. Most world religions through history warned that spiritual forces would destroy the world in something like an apocalypse but it turns out that human forces are destroying the world, only humans can solve the problem, and yet we are not acting to save ourselves. The planet will hopefully survive and replace us with less destructive creatures.
Of course, all of us who are not dictators, tyrants, corrupt politicians or oil company executives are paying the price. Some of the poorest people on the planet are losing their island nations entirely. In British Columbia, people are losing their houses and all their possessions, business owners are losing opportunities to stay afloat, people who live in care facilities are being evacuated to safer places and the cost of fighting the fires will add to our provincial debt. People with disabilities require extra assistance to flee from disasters and we need to develop emergency plans accordingly.
Since our Premier confirmed that this is our new normal and the United Nations told us that climate conditions will only be getting worse, all of us need to think about what we would do if our home was in the path of a raging fire, aggressive flood, or hurricane. Our future is not in our own hands, the solution is beyond our individual abilities – or even our national ability – to control on our own.
The fires raging amidst a runaway epidemic in B.C. this summer showed us that none of us is immune to disaster, but we can make proactive plans to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible – including getting vaccinated. Like it or not, we are in this together.