I’m sitting here at 11pm watching the glow of the horizon in the direction of the West Kelowna forest fires. The aroma in the air is like a thousand camp fires are burning. The haze blocked out the sun for part of the day until the wind changed direction. That wind has returned which doesn’t bode well for the evacuated residence, 2500 of them, in the West Kelowna area for tomorrow morning. Every senior in the city has been homebound all day due to air quality and since Kelowna is a retirement mecca that is a lot of people.
This time last year I was sitting in Calgary following the SECOND 100 year flood after the previous one in 2006. That was a short 100 years. The same is true of the massive flooding that has happened in Manitoba. There have been 3 hundred year floods in a space of 18 years (1996, 2006 and again this year). And according to the world of science we can expect more of these weather catastrophes as climate change progresses. The climate change that so many people still want to ignore or deny.
Over 90% of the science community are warning of the lack of action. Even the US Environmental Protection Agency has jumped on the band wagon warning about climate change. And despite the increase in tornados, floods, increasing lightening related fires, increased earthquakes and tsunami alerts people continue to deny the potential of these devastating phenomena being the result of climate change.
My mind flashes back to a conversation I had last week as another helicopter buzzes by overhead to check the fires again. This time of night they can’t water bomb due to smoke and darkness.
“Climate change doesn’t exist” he said to me. “It’s just an anti-oil things to keep people off balance”. The person speaking this is a very close family member who is well educated but not really knowledgable. There is a difference.
My only response with a look of wonderment “How can you believe that?”
“Well”, he responded (and this is a well educated retired 60), “I lived in Fort McMurray long enough to recognize the truth. This whole weather things is just the cyclical aspect of nature.”
“Cyclical aspect of nature,” I repeated. I am dumbfounded. “The cyclical aspect of nature is moving about five times faster than it was one hundred years ago,” I tell him.
“That’s just fear mongering put forth by those who are anti-oil,” he tells me and the conversation comes to an end. He has no interest in facts, just ideology.
This year they are predicting the hottest summer on record for the Kelowna area and we have already broken numerous temperature records, one going back to 1955. This is the type of weather that produces lightening storms in the evening which in turn produces more forest fires in an area already as dry as tinder. But still the climate deniers continue to maintain it isn’t happening.
I look out my window again to see the red glow off to the north west and think about that conversation. There are no stars because the smoke doesn’t allow the light through. If this is what well educated people are choosing to believe then I imagine by the time the reality of knowledgable people hits them there won’t be a climate to worry about.
Just one man’s opinion.