Floods Hit Close To Home

Photo credit: Zachary K Larabee

The city of Thunder Bay and surrounding townships have declared a state of emergency this week because of flood conditions throughout the region after more than 100 millimetres of rain fell over the weekend. The problem of flooding was exacerbated when the city’s overworked sewage treatment broke down. Roads have been washed out, basements filled with up to five feet of filthy water, and schools have been closed.

Living in northwestern Ontario as our family does, Thunder Bay is one of our regional centers (the other one is Winnipeg, which is also prone to spring flooding, although not this year). I’m thinking about friends there, and hoping all is well despite the crisis. Although here in our corner of northern Ontario, we haven’t been hit with the massive flooding that Thunder Bay has, it can’t be emphasized enough how all of us are going to start paying a heavier and heavier price for global and local inaction on climate change. Extreme weather events, and the resulting flash floods, droughts, etc, are (and have already been) increasing exponentially. As Ontario’s Environment Commissioner said recently, “We have an infrastructure built for a climate we no longer have.”

Although we have changed the world’s climate significantly, we are not yet at the stage of catastrophic climate change. For the sake of our children, our global neighbours, and this beautiful planet, it’s time that Canadians speak up loudly and clearly that we are not willing to sacrifice our children’s future health and economic stability to keep the fossil fuel industry raking in their obscene profits. To find out how to create the political will for a sustainable climate, and become empowered to exercise your political and personal power, go to CitizensClimateLobby.org.

Here’s a video of the Thunder Bay situation:



More links:

Environmental Commissioner: Ontario Not Prepared For Heavy Costs of Climate Change

U.S. EPA: Extreme Events: Climate Change And Health Effects

Floods Spark State of Emergency In Thunder Bay, Ont

Climate Change Has Arrived: Drowning Today, Parched Tomorrow

The Earth leads the news again. Fire & flood across continents. The nation-states are only supporting actors. What matters is people and our relationship with all of life. The nations and corporations and religions are losing their position. The Times says “Climate change has actually arrived.” No, at long last the Earth takes over completely.

The paragraph above from Reverend Billy Talen’s Facebook page today. Talen, founder of the Church of Life After Shopping, is a modern-day prophet, visionary, and performance artist who has been pointing out the dangers of the North American over-consumptive lifestyle in creative, attention-grabbing ways since 1996.

My scientist husband compared this summer’s weather to an experiment done in Chemistry class. Supersaturation occurs when a solid is added to a liquid and appears to be dissolving without visibly changing the liquid until the liquid becomes so saturated that, just by lightly tapping the side of the flask, the dissolved solid immediately crystallizes and sinks to the bottom. The earth is close to her “supersaturation point”, as the extreme weather events demonstrate. This analogy can also be extended to include the possibility that the number of weather catastrophes around the globe this summer, combined with the ecological and economic disaster of the BP oil mess in the Gulf of Mexico, could crystallize in people’s minds the reality of climate change and the limits of our finite planet. This shift in understanding needs to happen now, before we are any further down this planet-destructive, and ultimately self-destructive, path. Could this be the summer? Or, as someone commented on Rev Billy’s page, “I think we are being voted off the planet”.

credit: Doug Grandt

More links:

Four Years Go

In Weather Chaos, a Case For Global Warming

Reinventing Repower America: Our Only Hope For Winning the Climate Battle in America

Sonnenschiff Solar City Produces 4 Times The Energy It Consumes

Drowning Today, Parched Tomorrow