350, time to change the climate

Several Hazelton residents joined a global grassroots movement, 350.org, focused on solving the current climate crisis.

Several local Hazelton area residents have decided to join a global grassroots movement focused on solving the current climate crisis called 350.org.

The program consists of online campaigns, grassroots organizing, mass public actions that are all led by thousands of volunteers in more than 188 countries.

Their recent campaign is about connecting the dots and is designed to give people around the world an opportunity to show their examples of local climate change.

It is their ability to facilitate large world movements that fascinated local residents such as Greg Garcia and Katherine Keller from the Cedarvale backroad and Two-mile resident Chris Timms to join the climate action organization.

“I think it is important to represent our region and our community in something that is a global effort to address climate change,” Garcia said.  “Climate change is something that threatens our sustainability.”

Agriculture has been developed over the last 8 to 10 thousand years and is dependent on our current climate. If the climate changes too much the plant and animal species we depend on may not survive and this is something that is important for our community to be represented on a global level.

Many of these focus on extreme weather events, rising sea levels or record breaking temperatures.  In March 20,000 local high temperature records were noted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  While the early signals have been from the arctic and subarctic with melting sea ice and permafrost and changes in natural cycles, the affects are now being seen farther south.

Increases in flooding, droughts, storms, heat waves, forest fires, the list goes on.  In our region the pine beetle infestation as well as the spruce bark beetle infestation in the Yukon and Alaska are linked to warmer winters.  These have certainly had an economic impact.

A perhaps more serious implication of climate change is increased ocean acidification which is threatening marine life including our wild salmon stocks.  It’s frightening to imagine our fisheries disappearing by the middle of the century.

The organization also has a focus on reducing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million and Garcia also believes this is achievable.

“Individual efforts are an important part of the solution,” he explained. “It’s really as basic as the old fashioned value of frugality which our families which lived through the great depression practiced with dedication.  More efficient use of energy saves people money and reduces the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere.

However governments around the world will have to step up to the plate as well.Carbon has been stable in the atmosphere at 275 ppm for the entire time humans have been on earth.  It was over 60 million years ago that carbon was up to where we are now at 391 ppm.  350 is a goal we can make a reality and truly live with.”

With all of the above in mind, a group of locals gathered at the Skeena Ice Arena on Saturday to join forces, take a photo of their community supporting the global movement last weekend and add their efforts to the cause.

There are several write ups and tons of information about 350.org as well as other positive environmental initiatives to be found on the website www.350.org.