Friday, March 11, 2016

Time Grows Short

As The Mound of Sound points out, it is getting very late on the climate-change front. The goal of keeping global warming at below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 seems a fool's errand, given that it is now predicted to be reached by 2030. A bitter truth that too many wish to ignore, some people are facing up to it, as reflected in the following two letters from yesterday's Toronto Star:
Re: Climate change to wilt food supply, March 6

This story makes it clear that those scientists predicting the end of planet Earth in a few hundred years are more accurate than many would believe. Climate change, rising sea levels, deforestation, fishing the oceans bare, the slaughter of our wildlife, the ongoing pollution of air, land and water, new diseases emerging, overpopulation, global terrorism, the real threat of a major world war, etc. should make all those denying the grim reality pull their heads out of the sand.

Sadly, it’s too late. Man’s ignorance has placed this world on the “fast track” to its doom.

I am nearly 70 and can honestly say that I am glad to be “on the way out.” I weep for those now being born.

Planet Earth could have been a paradise. Corporate greed (profits trump the environment) and the lust for power will bring it to an end.

I think of an old saying. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.”

Robert Trowell, Ingersoll

Congratulations to the Star for its stand on climate change. In addition to its March 6 editorial (“Going green no time soon”), there were four great letters under the headline: “Feeling hopeless over climate change.” On the previous page, A9, there is yet another article supporting attempts to roll back climate change: “Climate change will wilt food supply.”

One thing we must know is where we should be heading in this struggle. Unless we get our carbon dioxide emissions down to the level that the world’s vegetation can assimilate, we are doomed.

Canada’s part in this process, according to our population, is 42 megatonnes of carbon dioxide annually. In 2014 we produced 699 megatonnes.

We have a long way to go. Let’s make sure that we know the destination. Let’s hope that the Star will continue to guide us.

Ken Ranney, Peterborough
Sadly, these periodic recognitions of climate doom are likely be too little, too late, but at least we will recognize, when the time comes, that we were collectively responsible for our demise.

And as a graphic illustration of our peril, you might want to take a look at this:


  1. As usual, Lorne, we are the source of our own misery.

    1. Indeed we are, Owen. I just came back from a short walk to the plaza when I noticed one of the houses on my route is having what appears to be a perfectly healthy old tree being cut down. All I could think of was that the release of carbon clearly dos not trump landscaping aesthetics. It was a depressing sight.

  2. That flash flood video is timely, Lorne. There was a paper released a few days ago that dealt with the problem. It suggested an engineering response - 'slow leak' dams in sequence that would prevent floodwaters from simply running off and, instead, hold them just long enough to allow the soils to absorb a usable amount of water.

    Drought is rendering areas incapable of absorbing rainwater which results in flash flooding and the ultimate loss of life-sustaining moisture. These dams are supposed to reverse some of that loss.

    Out my way we're focused on the loss of winter snowpack. There's still plenty of precipitation only it comes in the form of winter rains. Fortunately we have a double row of mountains that form a spine for the island. Mountains are the natural foundation for reservoirs. We may ultimately have to construct alpine reservoirs to ensure the supply of cold, freshwater through the summer months, especially during spawning. It's just another form of adaptation but it's not cheap.

    1. I get the feeling, Mound, that adaptations will simply be fingers in the dike, so to speak. Climate change is kind of like cancer, isn't it? Very hard to cure but in many instances easy to prevent.