All across Canada, wildfires are burning out of control. Six provinces and territories have been affected so far.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. An area equivalent to five million football fields has so far been destroyed.
This is a tragedy, but we need to understand the greater implications of these events. They exist within the context of global warming.
Climate change is making Canada burn
As Canada gets hotter and drier, these fires will only get worse as the year’s progress. And it won’t just be fired. As the polar ice caps melt, floods are becoming more frequent and more dangerous. These types of events will be inevitable if we don’t act now to save our planet.
I find it strange, the way we deal with the subject of climate change. Some of us continue to deny its existence, even as we flee our homes due to fires, floods, or other climate-related disasters.
Some of us want things to get better but we feel hopeless and helpless in the face of global warming.
One simple solution is to exercise our civic duty
There’s one simple thing we adults can do that could make an enormous difference in how life in Canada unfolds over the next few years. We can vote.
Voter turnout has been declining steadily over the last several years and that is very concerning to me. It’s the decisions our politicians are making that have the greatest impact on the environment. If we don’t vote, the power to effect positive change is no longer in our hands.
There’s a mayoral election coming up in Toronto in a few weeks. A few of the candidates have important things to say about combating climate change. As citizens, we need to inform ourselves and then vote for the candidate who best reflects our needs and interests in this regard.
Some people ignore politics
The other day, I was having a conversation with a middle-aged man who had no idea about who our major politicians are. He explained that he doesn’t bother with politics. I wanted to tell him that politics is having an impact on him whether he bothers with it or not.
It astounds me that a grown adult can live in a world where things are falling apart around him and not recognize that there’s something he can do to make things better. And it’s frustrating to realize that this man is not in the minority.
We aren’t helpless and we don’t have to be hopeless when it comes to climate change. We don’t have to deny its existence and we don’t have to spend our days in willful ignorance.
At the minimum, we can vote for those politicians who will fight for a cleaner environment. And if we’re a bit more ambitious, we can get involved in social activism and work more directly for the cause.
We need to get involved
Canada is burning, melting, and flooding and it’s only going to get worse unless we get involved. Things can change for the better, but they won’t if we can’t even be bothered to vote.
Power comes in many shapes and forms. We have the power to create change by electing candidates who will protect the environment. Let’s start to exercise this power in the June 26 election and then continue to do so in all the local, provincial, and federal elections to come.
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