Solving the Climate Change Pandemic
Written by Kara Letain, 3rd year ENVS Student
Tackling a huge issue like climate change is an intimidating task for anyone. The topic of this years IS conference was Climate Change, and collectively the speakers dug deeper into this contentious topic. It was shocking to me (being that I am an ENVS major) that there were many who didn’t have a clue about climate change, how it happens, and why it should be a primary concern.
Post conference, I interviewed Katharine Hayhoe (one of the key-notes speakers this year) to get into the deeper roots of her passion for climate change. Being an astronomy major in university, she really wasn’t exposed to the study of climate until one semester where she decided to take a climatology elective. The content of this class shocked her! She had no idea that climate change was not only a problem, but also a major contributor to some of the world’s biggest problems such as, the pollution of air/water, deforestation, biodiversity/fisheries lose, poverty, hunger, lack of health care, injustice and education. Katharine explained that she had always lumped climate change in with major world issues but after taking this class she began to realize that climate change was unleashing a pandemic of negative affects contributing to well-known world weather related disasters.
Since, like Katharine Hayhoe, Canadians do not experience the extreme of side effects of climate change, compared to other continents and countries, we can easily disconnect ourselves from being responsible and ‘cleaning up after ourselves’. The mess that affluent countries create within our air, water, soil, etc, is leaving third world populations scrambling to save their own lives. Climate change, in some regions of the world has lead to innocent people losing their lives as a by-product of our ‘comfortable’ lifestyles. Let me provide for you a few examples from Katherine Hayhoe.
For instance, Dr. Hayhoe says that “when we do not accept and choose to not act on climate change, it is similar to a doctor being equipped to stop a pandemic from wiping out massive populations of people, yet choosing not to.” Climate change is no different. Once we are educated on what the major causes are and understand how making simple changes in our daily life (cars, light bulbs, recycling, etc) we are then being proactive to make our immediate surroundings healthier, and actually saving lives. Putting our knowledge of what climate change is and how we can alter the progression of global warming, really boils down to whether or not we choose to engage in the process, change our ways for the benefit of all.
Katharine went further and explained that we have an obligation to care for creation. Through genuinely caring about everything living and non-living thing on this earth, we already have the heart motivation to engage in efforts to do something about climate change. This genuine care for creation is birthed out of the recognition that all humanity shares the same planet and are responsible to care for the health of its air, water and soil, to benefit us all.