Just the other day I was reading the newspaper and came across an interesting article titled "Your Carbon Footprint". It reported that no matter how it was calculated that Canada ranks in the top 10 for the world's worst greenhouse gas emitters. I recall a song that Melissa Etheridge, an outstanding singer wrote and performed "I need to wake-up", which speaks to this very issue. Here are some of the lyrics to her song:
"Have I been careless?
Dismissing all the distant rumblings
Take me where I am supposed to be
To comprehend the things that I can't see
'Cause I need to move,
I need to wake up,
I need to change,
I need to shake up,
I need to speak out
Something's got to break up
I've been asleep and I need to wake up now"
According to recent estimates from the World Resources Institute, the top 10 countries, this includes Canada, contributes to 70% of the global greenhouse emissions. That Canada ranks number 1 of producing carbon emission per capita. It reports that in 2017, Canada produced 716 megatons of greenhouse gases - in other words, we produce enough greenhouse gases that its the equivalent of 6072 CN towers!
We are obviously producing our fair share and need to own up to this fact.
In October 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a stark warning. Scientists have projected that in order to turn things around we have 10 to 12 years to make these changes, in order to keep the global temperature from warming above pre-industrial levels. Any additional increase even 0.5 degrees will significantly raise the risk of droughts, flooding, severe heat waves, tornadoes and the many other dangers associated with extreme warming.
A federal report outlines that this is significant in Canada, such as the Arctic, the warming increase has been reported to be 3 times faster than the global average. It's not just the Arctic that is cause for alarm, it's all over Canada - the yearly reporting of forest fires out west, to the floodings in Central Canada, the record-breaking heat temperatures that we have been experiencing, to the rising waves related to the lack of sea ice in Eastern Canada are some examples of the effects of the crisis of global warming that we are currently facing.
So before you go from despair to denial, it is not too late for any emissions reductions to avoid catastrophic climate change. We already know and have the solutions to combat climate global warming. However, it will probably be one more intense than our civilization has ever seen before. Researchers for climate change stress that each of us needs to make personal changes in order to limit our carbon footprint. Our actions matter more than ever. Every small individual change can really add up in the fight against climate change.
Are you ready to change?
The climate crisis can be solved. Here are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Use cloth diapers
- Avoid products with a lot of packaging
- Buy energy-efficient appliances
- Plant trees
- When you can walk, bike, use light rail or mass transit
- Reduce your dependence on foreign oil
Want to calculate your own carbon footprint?
CoolClimate calculator from the University of California, Berkley which was developed on peer-reviewed scientific studies, calculates your household annual carbon footprint. The calculator lists ways to cut your footprint after tallying emissions.
Before you start, you should know how much you travel by car or public transit, have your household bills on hand, and think about your household annual purchases, including groceries, services, maintenance, and other household goods.
Be prepared to be shocked by the numbers.
Source: Toronto Star Undeniable series of climate change in Canada
Source: Climate Wath 2018, Washington, DC: World Resources Institue