Ice, Climate, and lots of Gas

I can see that we are really fortunate here on the West Coast, as compared to the rest of the country, as everyone else seems to be dealing with extreme weather, well we are only dealing with our normal rain and mild temperatures. Even the little cold snap we had over the weekend was nothing as to what the folks in Toronto, Ontario, were dealing with last week with the ice storm. Still, according to a friend of mine from S.F.U., who has a keen interest in meteorology, “this whacked weather is more than likely the result of climate trends to come,” she said, “and we are going to see more contrast between weather systems, but leaning towards increases in water levels and temperatures over the long run.” (She requested that I not use her name here on my weblog).

Ice on the Pond Jan 5 2013 Weblog Image

When we met today at a presentation on campus regarding the Syrian conflict (Criminology related topics), but a bunch of us grouped together to talk about the miserable freezing weather that is going on in some parts of North America, before the presentation started. We all agreed that there is no doubt that there are issues going on with the relationship between man made pollution (greenhouse gases) and changes to our weather patterns (Climate Change). It was pointed out that many groups (mostly those who focus on business issues and politicly right-wing governments) say that the whole climate change notion is either pure bunk, or is part of some cosmic cycle that is natural that will happen regardless if we spew carbon into the air, or not: We should just deal with it. But one member in our group, who studies Anthropology, said that many societies have suddenly died off, and one theory points to sudden changes in climate to explain this, resulting from either, or a combination of, elevated ocean levels, loss of agriculture due to droughts, and over population due to limited habitable land use leading to scarcity of food and water supplies. He made some really good points with me on this.

Now we have seen just how fragile our infrastructure is, for example: the electrical utilities (in Newfoundland), and our roads and transportation systems, both by air and road (with the cities of Toronto and Winnipeg); with sudden drops of temperatures causing ice storms and almost impassable roads and airports, shutting entire cities right down. These weather systems are no longer science fiction, but are becoming more science fact, as our daily 6:00pm newscast headlines talk about almost nothing but weather news over the last couple of weeks. I wonder if it is time to start beefing up our homes, communities and national infrastructures to match the changes in climate? The reason why I am saying this, is rather than focusing on preventing climate change because Canada (through its Government) has jumped tracks and seems to only focus on economics than thinking long term to the future generations than prevention, so we must start preparing for the inevitable. And no, I am not saying that we should start building bomb shelter, and living in subterranean cities, but rather; building/constructing better roads, power systems and better management of our natural resources, like, water, agriculture and living space.

I was thinking in the back of my mind that Canadians need to have back-up plans for such weather, and natural disaster events. I thought about how valuable a wood stove would be during a winter storm, and a portable generator for loss of electrical power. Storing food and water in the form of a long term strategy if roads were destroyed, or stores lost of their produce through week long outages. An evacuation plan, and alternative living accommodation and transposition means, like a boat in case of a flood, or having to relocate because the house was levelled during an earthquake. It seems to be a question of not if, but rather when will then happen, and how comfortable can you live during these events.

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