15 October 2009

We are survivors

Today, October 15, 2009, is Blog Action Day. I'm pleased to join in with thousands of bloggers internationally on this year's theme of climate change.

Do you think of yourself as a survivor, one who comes from a long string of survivors? Society is well adapted to typical weather and climate variability but struggles with extremes and their consequences. How many of us have ancestors who were refugees because of drought on the Prairies, famine in Ireland, or in shipwrecks owing to storms? How many more might be reading this if those who didn't survive had lived?

Many of the most disruptive consequences of man-made climate change will be the result of disproportionate increases in the number of extreme weather events. That's why sceptics like to speak of a benign sounding "warming." Who, especially Canadians with our proverbial nine months of winter, could object to a bit more warmth in the world?

But change might become manifest in climate oscillations, there's evidence for that in the paleo-climate record on a scale not experience in the written record. And its certainly clear from archaeological studies that past climate changes have wiped mankind from whole regions of the earth.

My generation respects our parent's generation that beat back Hitler at often huge personal cost. How will future generations view our generation and the climate inheritance we are leaving? Will your descendants be victims or survivors of a climate catastrophe, or will it not be a challenge they are forced to face because, like our parents when faced with the imminent threat, we acted?

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