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The real slap in the face

In March, the Antarctic hit a record-breaking 40ºC above normal temperatures; the Arctic saw 30ºC above normal. 

No, this isn’t an April Fools joke. It really isn’t.

Perhaps if Will Smith had slapped Chris Rock while standing at the North or South Pole there might have been a chance to get the world’s attention.

Chris Hatch, of the National Observer, writes, “Scientists were left scrambling for words. ‘Impossible,’ ‘unthinkable,’ ‘stunning,’ ‘freakish.’ Cryosphere scientists who spend their lives on the planet’s ice sheets and glaciers say ‘Antarctic climatology has been rewritten.’”

Please take a moment to let this sink in.

If you’re someone who likes to understand the science behind stuff like this, the temperature spike at the South Pole had something to do with an atmospheric river (the Antarctic may have also experienced record-breaking rainfall—the climate scientists are still looking into it).

As for the North Pole, I haven’t done enough digging to find out. To be honest, I don’t really care what the precise trigger was. We know more than enough already: we’re heating the planet at an alarming rate. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (i.e., the federal department that should be all over this with meaningful solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), the annual average temperature in Canada has increased by 1.7ºC since 1948, and by 2.3ºC in northern Canada (see Canada’s Changing Climate Report, p. 116, Government of Canada, 2019).

So much for “keeping 1.5ºC alive.”

It’s gut-wrenching. But for some of us, what’s even more horrifying is that it’s not front-page news.

What will it take to displace frivolous Hollywood news and get the urgency of climate catastrophe, species extinction, and biosphere collapse on people’s radar? Government leaders could certainly make it happen, like they did with Covid-19. But they choose not to. Instead, they offer us opportunities to participate in public consultations on climate change plans from time to time, but nothing actually gets done.

When my colleagues and I were coming up with a name for our new Beyond Coal Atlantic campaign website, it didn’t take us long to settle on Beyondclimatepromises.ca. Please take a moment to poke around the site, and be sure to read our page on energy democracy, which we’ll be talking more about in the weeks to come. 

We’re also entering the “Oh, sh@#, we need to find more funding to keep our campaign going” phase—a  familiar scenario for many environmental groups, especially those that stand their ground with government and industry.

If you’d like to give us a hand with our fundraising, please do! Mention the Beyond Coal Atlantic campaign in the Comments box to direct your donation towards our work.

Thank you,

Tynette Deveaux 
Beyond Coal Atlantic campaign

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