What Can Individuals Do?

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Count Us InHow time flies. Already the February Flagstone is here. It was just over 2 years ago in 2018 that the sentinel IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report came out on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degree C above pre-industrial levels. The most startling point that came out of the report was that in order to mitigate the changes due to the rise in temperature, the world would have to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. Starting from 2018 that meant we had just 12 years to get this done. Well, we are now in 2021, so we are down to 9 years. We have taken only a few of many steps towards this goal. (See my last report in the January Flagstone that highlighted the Production Gap report (2020 Report – Production Gap) which states we are falling far short of what we need to accomplish.)

My concluding remarks in January’s edition of the Flagstone were left out so here they are. Best to read in conjunction with the January report.

“So what are we to do in the face of this information? I would suggest three things.

First what can we do as individuals?  A new project called Count Us In (count-us-in.org) states the 16 most effective steps we can take as individuals to reduce our own carbon emissions. I could tell you what they are, but I strongly suggest you check out the website for yourself.

Secondly, it really does make a difference to let our politicians know we expect more of them.  In the new year DICAN (Denman Island Climate Action Network) plans to restart its letter writing campaigns started by Plastic Free Denman. (Check out OnePlanet.com while you are at it, to learn about living within the resources our One Planet gives us)

Thirdly, we as a community can make a difference. As the new year goes forward, DICAN  will resume meeting. We hope that our whole community will come together since we can accomplish much more together than as individuals alone. Stay tuned and Count Yourself In. (count-us-in.org)”

So we now have 2020 behind us. Yes it was and still is full of COVID-19 news. But as for Climate Change, 2020 was tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record and it averaged 1.02 deg. C hotter than 1970, the base year for temperature increases. In fact the entire last decade had the 10 hottest years we have had on earth for the last 3 million years or so. Since 1970 we have been averaging an increase of 0.03 deg. C per year. In the last decade alone we have averaged an increase of 0.04 deg.C. At that rate we could hit 1.5 C increase in just 12 years. The worsening consequences of reaching and going beyond 1.5 C include extreme weather, rising sea levels, increase in ocean temperature and acidification, melting of the permafrost and the impact of the feedback loops as a result of these changes. Action must be taken now to stem this increase.

By the time you are reading this the inaugural meeting of the BC Climate Action Network will have taken place. So stay tuned for more information on what we can do on Denman for what is no doubt the most serious threat we face.

Dr. Ron