As human-caused climate change continues to warm the planet, sea levels will rise, storms will grow stronger, floods more violent and draughts harsher. All of this puts some of the world's most vulnerable people at greater risk.
Extreme weather conditions, storms, flooding, droughts and ice melting are the new reality in too many parts of the world. People are losing their livelihood, their homes, their jobs -- and even their lives. While scientists and faith leaders call for urgent action, our political leaders have failed to take necessary actions.
On Monday, November 5th 2012, I was packing food hampers at Saint Jacobi Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York. Hurricane Sandy had caused widespread destruction a few days before and my reason for being in the city, the New York Marathon, had, understandably, been cancelled. It seemed only natural to respond to a request for volunteers.
Talking about the weather is a national pastime (especially during those awkward elevator encounters) here in Canada. So
On Wednesday, December 12th, Spinner Canada will proudly host the live-stream of 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief from
Developed countries, when they put 30 per cent emissions reductions or less on the table are effectively putting death, displacement and devastation on the table. To call current targets enough, is to effectively announce that on this planet there are acceptable losses in those regions least responsible for causing climate change. People are connecting the dots between extreme weather, droughts and famine, desertification, deforestation, rising sea levels, flooding, wildfires, and a range of devastating impacts the result of a changed climate. They are connecting these dots to a history of the fossil fuel industry and wealthy, developed nations having free reign pollute.
Writing in The Jerusalm Post, Israeli Sharon Udasin quoted Nofar Gal, who lives near the border with Gaza: "The situation in the South has been very difficult not only for us humans but also for our pets." Predictably, her writing about an Israeli's pet dog triggered outrage in sensitive non-Israelis. The professionally sensitive -- liberal reporters -- were especially incensed.
Hurricane Sandy certainly got our attention. Billions of dollars (and counting) in damages. Communities crippled and left in the cold without electricity. Nearly 200 lives lost. Sadly, with the stark realities of climate change and frequency of extreme weather events, this likely won't be the last natural disaster we experience or witness in our lifetime or even this decade. So, what are we to do about that?
It's safe to say that the virtual pop-up store is the latest and greatest. It's no wonder that with the holidays approaching Mattel and Walmart have come together to launch the first one for commuters in Toronto. The virtual toy store will run for four weeks and will provide the ultimate ease in shopping by providing images of toys and a UPC code to scan for purchase. Then the commuter/shopper goes home and waits for the delivery.
Kitimat, B.C. and New York had one thing in common this week: the misuse and use of social media, Twitter and Facebook that spread both accurate warnings and dangerous misinformation about an impending disaster.