Comment: Climate action needed now

There are a wide range of views about climate change, but general ignorance and apathy prevails. Too few recognize the seriousness or urgency of the impending consequences of inaction.

Abuse inflicted over the past 100 years has been building to the point where it is almost irreversible. There is too much evidence of this to delay any longer.

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Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, speaking from the International Space Station, pointed out that our Earth is itself a spaceship and we cannot dare to abuse it any longer.

The decision to approve expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline was falsely justified on the basis of job creation and continuing need for fossil fuels until greener options can replace them. For several years, Alberta has been deprived of the oil-based opportunities for wealth it once enjoyed. Few have drawn attention to a beneficial shift in employment opportunities this loss has caused.

Restoring oil-related jobs will stall the very actions needed to bring about the urgent changes needed there, in Canada and the world. The notion we need time to gain the wealth needed to implement green changes is false.

Our western society enjoys an ample food supply, stability in education and low unemployment. But we also have trade wars and conflicts deflecting attention from a greater need for world co-operation to fight climate change. We cannot continue pursuing the notion we can grow our economy indefinitely. If a political party does not make climate change its key mandate, then we will face a world of famine, hardship and, ultimately, chaos.

The time for united action is not now. It was years ago. I am over 90 years of age, so I will not see how this plays out. My children and grandchildren will see the turmoil. With the best level of co-operation, we will still suffer the inevitable inertia of this complex society and its conflicting objectives.

The scientific evidence is overwhelming. Only those with self-serving interests continue to deny it. Do not allow them to sway your determination to become involved. The Earth as we know it took billions of years to build, but can be lost in a century. Action today and forward will be painful, but the alternative is eventual destruction of life as we know it.

J. Rory Kirby is a retired business systems analyst and corporate manager with Nortel Networks.

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