Weekly Column: ‘Beyond Climate’ Supplies Both Reason And Hope

By | March 11, 2019

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on March 11, 2019. 

There is at least one reason why over 700 people packed the Grand Hall of the Campus Activity Centre at TRU last Friday for the screening of Dr. Ian Mauro’s newest documentary, Beyond Climate. To renew their hope supplies.

The documentary delivered both: reasons to be alarmed and hope that there is time to act. Beyond Climate was thought as a bird’s eye view of how climate change affects our province.

One could ask, in all fairness, if we need any more proof that climate change is affecting our world, and if we need to see yet another documentary about it. The short answer is yes.

The time to debate whether climate change is real has passed, and so has the time to quarrel over whether it is man-made or not.

It is, and the reasons are logical. We are pumping lots of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that enhances the greenhouse effect which in turn increases the temperature on Earth. With the mention that it is not a uniform warming. But warming it is – which can be measured in glaciers retreating and Arctic ice melting; longer wildfire seasons; increased drought in many parts of the world and thus decreased food production due to changes in precipitation patterns and low flow in dependable waterways, or none at all.

It’s not pretty and it will get uglier yet. Most of us wonder how that will look for our children and their children, which makes hope hard to come by at times.

Beyond Climate is not a frightening film, but a real one aiming to spark conversation and action. Dr. Ian Mauro exposes the impact of climate change in our province. On water streams that have been salmon spawning grounds for thousands of years and are now are too warm or even dried up for spawning (hence the new 13 recommendations from the Wild Salmon Advisory Council, deeply concerned with the decreasing salmon stocks in B.C.); on the lodgepole pines whose numbers have been halved by the increasingly hard-to-kill pine beetle; on the areas that are more prone to wildfires and subsequent flooding (the dry forest is an issue even this time of year, as the recent prescribed burn that got out of hand in Barriere showed.)

But… we can still have time on our side, if we commit to substantial changes. If you happened to be at the screening, I hope you thought it a good use of time. That and the conversation that followed, lead by the film director Dr. Ian Mauro with Dr. David Suzuki, who narrated the film.

I know that some find it easy to criticize Dr. David Suzuki: that he should not be speaking of climate change while hopping on a plane to go places; that he is a hypocrite, alongside many other environmentalists. Which is why they choose not to acknowledge the cause he stands for.

The truth is, many still use fossil fuels, as we all do, but they are decreasing their carbon footprint as much as possible and urge others to do the same. The transition to a renewable energy future is not a smooth one, nor is it a quick one, but it is doable and much sooner than many expect. There are stories of it happening already, there are ideas and there is willingness.

The quest is not to expose the sinful or praise the sinless in this crisis; we are all part of the problem, which is why finding and implementing solutions should be done by all. Using less is where it’s at, needs versus wants; addressing the looming threat for the sake of our children. Wanting to act on climate change is not because people consider themselves better than the rest, but because they are concerned. Dr. Suzuki showed plenty if that on Friday (as he has for many decades,) alongside Dr. Mauro and the people in the audience (and so many others out there striving for the same.)

To act on climate change is to want the better future for ourselves and our children. In focusing on ‘bigger is better’ we expanded everything without addressing the impact. At some point we started living large and demand kept increasing, but that is not sustainable. Not if we care about our children. Reassessing what matters for a life well lived must include a legacy.

That’s where documentaries such as Beyond Climate come in, and the voices of today’s youth, such as Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has been inspiring her peers to speak up and demand action. Why would school matter if the future of today’s youth is threatened due to climate change, she asked, delivering a message both humbling and inspiring in front of the EU commission: ‘Since our time is running out, we have started to clean up your mess and we will not stop until we are done.’ (The EU Chief has since pledged a quarter of the $1billion budget to address climate change.)

Time is of the essence; that’s why one more and each voice matters, and why each new documentary adds to the momentum. It’s for all of us.

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