Here in southern Ontario the heat of August has finally broken, and it’s been an absolute delight to be able to open the windows of our houses to let fresh air back in.
We’ve had hot summers before, so this year’s wasn’t anything new, but around the world the signs of climate change are unmistakable – melting polar snow, widespread forest fires, increasingly powerful hurricanes.
A study of impacts globally during the past 50 years (1970 to 2019 ) from weather, climate and water extremes, has shown that climate-related disasters are now five times higher than they used to be, with an enormous cost to the local economies. It’s been estimated that the fires in British Columbia this summer cost $600 million dollars just to fight them, much less the lives lost, compromised health and damages to homes and business disruptions.
Last month the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released an assessment of the current dire condition our planet is in: we must take action immediately in order to prevent a catastrophic future in as little as twenty years. Some of the changes that have already happened will take hundreds of years to reverse..
Lots of people are working on the problem, but it’s our job as average citizens to understand the seriousness of the issue, to value what we’ve been blessed with until now and to help in any way we can.
KAIROS Canada, a coalition of religious organizations across denominations, along with advocates from around the world interested in human rights and the preservation of our planet, has designated September as Climate Action Month, and as a graduate in ecological and environmental science myself, I’ll be following some of their initiatives throughout the month.
If you’re wondering what you can do, KAIROS’ 30-day Challenge Card will give you some ideas:
Today I’m fulfilling Actions 2, 6, 18, 20 and 27 all in the same post. I engaged in some Forest Bathing today in a local conservation area called Woodend on top of the Niagara Escarpment to absorb all the healing aspects of a simple walk in the woods and to collect samples of the beauty of nature all around us to share with you. Here’s just a little of what I found.
All of that in one tiny corner of our world, free for anyone to enjoy. Imagine if in twenty years or so none of that was there.
Bees, for example, are in great danger of disappearing, and that would be disastrous. Bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants – including more than 100 different food crops: fruits, vegetables, forage for dairy and beef cattle, herbs, spices, nuts, medicinal plants and the many ornamental plants we love in our gardens. Without the humble little bee flitting around, working away, we all face starvation.
Forests clean our air. They also shelter thousands of species of animals around the world. According to Reset.org, one 100-year-old oak tree every year binds about 5,000 pounds of carbon and gives off enough oxygen to support eleven people. At the same time, the roots absorb about 40,000 liters of water from the soil every year, which it “sweats out” through the leaves to work like a giant air conditioner. On top of that, the tree filters about one tonne of dust and pollutants from the air.
Without trees, we all face climatic disaster.
I think a lot of people believe that humans are the only important species on the planet, but they’re so wrong. Earth is a massive interconnected system that depends on millions of creatures, both plant and animal, to function properly. Without all of them, humans are doomed.
How can you help? By supporting everyone who’s working so hard to change things for the better. Recycle, sign petitions to our governments, support the plants and animals we have left.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that more than 37,400 species of all kinds are currently threatened with extinction, but the actual number is even higher because there are many more species that simply haven’t been assessed yet – or even discovered!
Every species counts. One petition that came to my inbox today illustrates the importance of everyone making their voice heard so that our governments realize we want them to preserve our planet, not big business.
Would you allow someone to dismantle your own home bit by bit, until there was nothing left to shelter and nourish you? Of course not. So let’s not let big business do that to our global home.
All photos by me and all rights reserved.