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A Different Point of View....: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

Canada is far behind many other countries when it comes to meeting its carbon reduction targets. We have an “inadequate” ranking on the international mechanism tracking carbon emitters, says Climate Action Tracker.  Many other countries/regions, such as Norway, the European Union, the United States and China, are well ahead of us.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

A Different Point of View....: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

Canada is far behind many other countries when it comes to meeting its carbon reduction targets. We have an “inadequate” ranking on the international mechanism tracking carbon emitters, says Climate Action Tracker.  Many other countries/regions, such as Norway, the European Union, the United States and China, are well ahead of us.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

A Different Point of View....: Why are our environmental groups supporting weak climate targets?

Canada is far behind many other countries when it comes to meeting its carbon reduction targets. We have an “inadequate” ranking on the international mechanism tracking carbon emitters, says Climate Action Tracker.  Many other countries/regions, such as Norway, the European Union, the United States and China, are well ahead of us.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Why are our environmental groups supporting weak climate targets?

A Different Point of View....: Now I know why my friends don’t want to hear about climate change

About three years ago I decided to devote a lot of time to writing about the threat of climate change. I felt then – and feel now – that the planet is going to be in one hell of a worse mess in a few years unless we take action on a scale never seen before concerning any other threat in history.

After I had published two or three items on various news sites, I was surprised – actually shocked – to learn that, compared to other topics I have written about – such as international financial mismanagement and the evils of neo-liberalism – very few people read the climate change articles.

To try to find out why this is the case, I spoke with a few friends. Most said the thought of dramatic changes occurring on earth were too overwhelming to deal with. Worse still, they felt they couldn’t have any influence on what will happen.

As it turned out, hardly any of my friends wanted to learn more about the threat or find out how they might help fight climate change.

People reacting emotionally to climate change

I don’t know the psychological state of my friends, but an Australian psychologist believes she knows why millions of people are reacting emotionally to climate change.

This climate activist traveled to Paris to demonstrate during the UN climate change conference in December. Masses of people must show the same resolve if we are to hold climate change at bay.

Dr. Susie Burke of the Australian Psychological Society says that, as life on earth becomes more abnormal over time, it can bring on all kinds of feelings in people. Knowing this, I’d say some of my friends are in what is perhaps an early anxiety stage concerning the threat of climate change. As conditions worsen, their symptoms can be expected to worsen.

“Many people may feel seriously concerned, frightened, angry, pessimistic, distressed, or guilty in response to climate change,” she says. “Qualitative research finds evidence of some people being deeply affected by feelings of loss, helplessness, and frustration due to their inability to feel they are making a difference in stopping climate change.

“New terms such as ‘eco-anxiety’ or ‘climate change anxiety’ are sometimes used to describe this.”

Dr. Burke says that if people experience something like an extreme weather disaster, the impact on them can get worse.


Mental health in danger

Disasters occurring because of climate change, in addition to destroying our environment, will also affect us psychologically and mentally.

“Depression, PTSD and complicated grief reactions are the most common mental health problems,” she says, “and many, many more people who do not end up with a diagnosis of depression or PTSD, nonetheless end up with heightened distress, grief, stress and strain.”

The most disastrous impacts are occurring in some developing countries. Recently a city in western India suffered through the country’s highest ever recorded temperature – a scorching 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 F). As a result of crops being wiped out by excessive heat, hundreds of depressed farmers across 13 states have killed themselves.

In Karachi, Pakistan, in anticipation of another heat wave this year, officials hired a digger to excavate three elongated trenches big enough for 300 bodies. In Canada, while climate change is not nearly as damaging – at least so far– as in many other countries, it already is having an impact on the mental health of many people.

Worst affected are the northern First Nations and Inuit, peoples who have a close relationship with nature. Melting permafrost is damaging vital ice roads, making them unstable and unsafe.    In the past, roads in Ontario used to import vital goods, were safe about 70 days a year. Now they’re passable only about 35 days. The changes have made hunting more unpredictable.  Changes in ice flow patterns have made hunting walrus more difficult.

First Nations people despondent

Isadore Day, Ontario’s regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, says that despair over climate change is contributing to mental health and social problems, possibly even record-breaking suicide rates.

Cunsolo Willox, an assistant professor of indigenous studies at Cape Breton University, says the impact of climate change on northern peoples was evident back in 2009, when she did her PhD dissertation in Labrador. She says family stress was elevated. Anxiety and depression seemed to be amplified. More people were turning to drugs and alcohol and having suicide thoughts.

Interestingly, Willox said the people she interviewed weren’t talking to each other about their fears – which, I think, is similar to the way some of my friends are responding to the emerging crisis.
Some farmers on the Canadian prairies are also experiencing severe anxiety. Farmers have always been at the mercy of the weather at the best of times.

But Kim Keller, who worked on her family’s grain farm about 200 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, told The Toronto Star that climate change is hitting some farmers hard. The dramatic changes are amplifying mental distress as farmers struggle with floods, unseasonable frosts, and windstorms scientists say are becoming more frequent and severe.

Extreme weather battering farms

Planting crops year to year is becoming a “roll of the dice,” said Keller, a third-generation farmer. “The weather we tend to experience lately seems to be at one extreme or the other — drought or flooding, -40 C or 35 C. These unpredictable and extreme weather patterns add to all the other stressors farmers experience and deal with.”

In Alberta, the lives of thousands of people have been upended by the massive Fort McMurray wildfires, caused largely by climate change. It’s not hard to predict that many people who will continue to live in the area will suffer anxiety. Meanwhile, the CBC reports that children who experienced the fires are suffering from stress.

On a worldwide scale, it appears that the impact of climate change on human health will be receiving much more attention in the future. A report by the United Nations Human Rights Council released in May says that massive action is needed to protect the human rights – particularly the mental health – of people.

The report warns: “The negative health impacts of climate change will increase exponentially with every incremental increase in warming. Limiting warming to the greatest extent possible and achieving the target of 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels should therefore be the objective of all climate action.”

The problems in developing countries the report addresses also apply to native groups living in the Canadian North and prairie farmers: “States should establish, inter alia, early warning systems; utilize community-based monitoring, including traditional knowledge; enhance emergency response capabilities; and improve coordination in addressing climate migration . . . .”

No health-related action in Canada

While many Canadian mental health and some government officials are aware of the impact of climate change on human health, it does not appear that the actions recommended by the UN are being carried out in Canada.

Finally, thinking back to all those people who don’t want to deal with climate change: this is a serious problem. If the planet is to be a livable place, the masses of people have to become involved in the fight. Environmental groups must do a lot more on climate change than they’re doing – they’re failing to educate the public.

Governments must be both criticized and encouraged over what they’re doing. If fossil fuel corporations don’t embrace technologies favouring carbon reduction, they must be attacked and eliminated.

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Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Now I know why my friends don’t want to hear about climate change

Bill Longstaff: Where is the outrage about the RCMP’s witch-hunt?

At one time I instinctively assumed that government agencies were apolitical, servants of the people, not the servants of any particular philosophy or party. That, it increasingly seems, was the good old days. Recently I, like many others, have the distinct impression that the Canada Revenue Agency, for example, is serving the political interests of . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Where is the outrage about the RCMP’s witch-hunt?

A Different Point of View....: Environmentalists, civil society must unite, adopt stronger tactics to fight climate change

The 311,000 protestors who took part in the exhilarating Climate Summit march through Manhattan and those who blocked some entrances to Wall Street have returned to their homes.

The leaders of the more than 120 nation states that made pie-in-the-sky, non-binding promises for reductions in carbon emissions at the UN meeting and dozens of powerful . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Environmentalists, civil society must unite, adopt stronger tactics to fight climate change

Cowichan Conversations: Flaherty cites terrorism when asked why CRA is auditing environmental charities

Harper’s enforcer Jim Flaherty

The heavy hand of oppression being directed towards effective environmental organizations smacks of extremism once unthinkable in Canada.

When advocating for the protection of our rivers, lakes, oceans, fisheries, air, farmland, wildlife and aquifers earns the attention of the Canadian Revenue Agencies ‘A’ team then we know just how . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Flaherty cites terrorism when asked why CRA is auditing environmental charities

Bill Longstaff: Is the CRA reacting to political pressure?

Not being a conspiracy theorist and having great faith in the integrity of our civil servants, I find it hard to believe that the current spate of audits of environmental organizations by the Canada Revenue Agency is a result of pressure from the Harper government. Yet the pressure is substantial.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty recently . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Is the CRA reacting to political pressure?

A Different Point of View....: Action needed to stop ‘climate deniers’ from winning the information war

Note: This appeal is written particularly for the attention of environmental groups and activists throughout Canada and the U.S., suggesting they set up a co-operative system to bring a halt to the huge amount of disinformation about global warming that appears in mainstream media.

The global warming deniers are at it again, and it is . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Action needed to stop ‘climate deniers’ from winning the information war

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Despite risk to marine ecosystem White House reaffirms commitment to Arctic drilling

As US renews pledge to drill in Arctic waters, Greenland places moratorium on new leases By: Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams: A White House official reaffirmed Wednesday the Obama administration’s commitment to the Arctic offshore drilling program despite the “dangerous risk” of catastrophic consequences for the pristine marine ecosystem. Speaking via video […]

The post . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Despite risk to marine ecosystem White House reaffirms commitment to Arctic drilling

Canadian Progressive World: Three Simple Numbers Behind Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

They are the “numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is,” according to Rolling Stone magazine. They bring a frightening reality at a time when, here in Canada, the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doing everything to suppress scientific knowledge and environmental groups.

. . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive World: Three Simple Numbers Behind Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: In Alberta, A Public Oil Pipeline Spill Tip Line Is Launched

“Hundreds of spills happen every year and still this government does nothing. We had three major spills last month alone. How many more have to happen before the government finally acts?”

9 July, 2012 (Edmonton ) – The Alberta Surface Rights Group, Greenpeace Canada, The Council of Canadians and the Sierra Club today launched a . . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: In Alberta, A Public Oil Pipeline Spill Tip Line Is Launched

Leftist Jab: Environmental Groups? Yeah, Vic Toews Hates Them Too

He’s got a lot of love to give, just not for environmentalists “Terrorist action occurs when an extremist ideological group plans to carry out a violent attack that reasonably can be expected to kill people or destroy property,” (italics mine) said Michael Patton, Vic Toews’ communication director in an email to the Globe and Mail.

. . . → Read More: Leftist Jab: Environmental Groups? Yeah, Vic Toews Hates Them Too