Like a car crash, by the time you realize what’s happening it’s sometimes too late to hit the brakes.
The same goes for climate change, according to the Vernon Climate Action Group. The accumulative warming effect that is underway needs immediate action.
The climate has already warmed by nearly one degree, melting glaciers, sea ice and permafrost and rising sea levels.
“Local examples of how climate change is impacting us include pine bark beetle infestations, increasingly violent storms, and a lower winter snow pack, meaning less water is flowing into our streams and rivers,” said Dr. Mary Stockdale, VCAG co-ordinator.
And at the rate we’re going, she says it’s unlikely we can keep the change below two degrees (which was what was agreed upon at the Paris summit).
“It’s sort of like a car accident, you step off the gas and you put on the brake but you keep sliding,” Stockdale urged Coldstream council Monday.
“What we need to do is step off the gas and onto the brake as fast as possible and hope that we jut have a minor fender bender and not a serious accident.”
Stockdale and fellow co-ordinator Bill Darnell made their case to Coldstream, bringing with them a letter calling for change with the signatures of 75 local residents.
They recommend that fossil fuel expansion be stopped by closing some fields and mines before they are fully exploited. Also, transitioning to a way of life that uses less energy.
But they realize that these changes will not occur overnight, and steps are needed to create new green jobs to replace the oil field jobs that many rely on.
“A lot of people in this area depend on the fossil fuel industry for their livelihood,” said Darnell.
They urged Coldstream to be one of the local governments that take the lead and inspire change through planning and policies.
While Coldstream does have a number of policies in place and a series of hybrid vehicles, the challenge becomes finding something suitable for jobs such as snow plowing. The district also has some solar panels but discovered they don’t produce as well as was hoped.
Coun. Peter McClean suggested BC Hydro rates be made more affordable.
“Get houses on electric heat and away from fossil heat,” said McClean. “We (BC Hydro) are overpriced and under used.”
Coun. Gyula Kiss agrees that more needs to be done when you look at the change from years ago.
“For me, what I remember growing up as a kid, it’s a big drastic difference,” said Kiss, adding that there are still people who doubt climate change.