Letters to the Editor

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Dear Editor,
Christine Dorothy’s curiously error-ridden “Climate change” letter of 11 August is adequately debunked by Graeme Waymark’s comment on the online posting of the letter.

As someone who was paying attention to global climate change before the “looming Ice Age” alarm of the 1970s, I’d like to point out some aspects of the history of ideas about climate change.

The first thing is that, ever since Louis Agassiz noticed the retreat of Alpine glaciers in the mid-19th Century, it was taken for granted by everyone that the planet was warming. After the Swedish physical chemist, Svante August Arrhenius, worked out the greenhouse parameters for carbon dioxide in 1905, it was understood that this warming was in proportion to increased carbon dioxide.

This consensus came to an end in the 1970s, when there was a slight reduction in global temperatures, which is now understood to have been due to reflection of sunlight by post-WWII particulate air pollution, which was amplified in some publicity to a “looming Ice Age.” The conflicting trends of growing use of fossil carbon and reduced air pollution, spurred by the 1960s environmental movement, resumed and accelerated the global warming, and we now have last month as the warmest ever recorded by meteorology, and carbon dioxide at levels last known from 14 million years ago, at the end of the Miocene Climatic Optimum, before there were ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland.

The glacial retreats that began in the 1850s came at the end of the “Little Ice Age,” which is plausibly attributed to carbon uptake by reforestation after widespread human depopulation, first in Europe due to the Black Death, invasive Mongol slaughter from central Asia, and then in the Americas from European diseases and genocide.

The lesson of this history is that global cooling has already been due to human activities, and that we now have the opportunity to repeat this by global co-operation, rather than the unpleasantness and death which caused the previous cooling.

Back in 1989, when climatologists first agreed that warming had resumed, we wrote “So let us, wimps and dreamers, undo Earth’s disrepair, Bind up your wounds with peat and flowers, Sequester carbon as the forest thrives, Living wood and leaf scour the skies, And orchids bloom where seething Sphagnum purifies the air.” – https://carbonsequestrationwork.blogspot.com/ – but current talk about action against climate change is almost entirely about reducing emissions, not about matching this with sequestered carbon.

We really need a total carbon budget model for Canada, that includes forests and permafrost and wetlands and agricultural soils and the processing of fossil fuels. Because of this lack of attention, Fragile Inheritance is going to resume work on the above blog/workbook, and look forward to North Grenville being as much of a leader in climate action as it was in ParticipACTION.

Sincerely,
Fred Schueler, PhD.

Reserch Curator
Fragile Inheritance Natural History
Bishops Mills.

 

Dear Editor,
I must assume that your climate change denialist, Christine Dorothy, is getting her “facts” from the 1% of scientists, many in the pay of the oil and gas industry, who refute that climate change is happening, or, as it seems, as she said by simply looking out of her window. I guess that if it is not happening to her, then it’s not happening.

It is always interesting to know how other sides think. In my mind, to deny that climate change is happening is to ignore all of the scientific proof that we have, and have had for more than 30 years.

If looking out of our own windows is the yardstick that climate change is measured by, then you may be forgiven for thinking that it isn’t happening; but the way in which the world is connected, you would have to be living in a cave not to see what is going on elsewhere. That you still won’t believe it after all the evidence that is being presented is unfathomable, but some people are more comfortable in their own world, and refuse to contemplate the changes needed to meet this crisis head on.

So, according to Ms. Dorothy, we supposedly have fewer fires, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes, which ignore the unprecedented temperatures of 140F coupled with unprecedented forest fires and flooding in Europe, not to mention flooding and forest fires here in our own country and in the US. As for polar bears flourishing, it is well documented that polar bears are starving to death because the sea ice, on which they hunt, is disappearing.

Then we have the statement that carbon dioxide is our friend. Sure, if you happen to be a plant. Not so much if you happen to be human, or any other terrestrial being. We breathe in oxygen, and exhale carbon dioxide.

Trees and plants do the opposite, which is why it is helpful to have them around. However, we are cutting down forests at an alarming rate, so that isn’t going to be helpful for future generations when all that carbon that they have been storing is released back into our atmosphere.

As for the part about governments blithely taking our money to fix this problem, the last time I looked, it wasn’t happening. Sure, we have a carbon tax, but the rebate that we get on our taxes mostly covers this.

You can bet that Conservative governments won’t fix this, as they don’t believe in climate change, and Liberal governments say they believe in it, but then go and buy $10 billion pipelines. As that is pretty much all that we have elected over the last millennia, that concern seems somewhat unfounded.

She is right on one thing, that climate doesn’t change in a decade or two. What she forgot to add was “unless we help it along”. What is happening now was predicted over 30 years ago, and nothing substantive has ever been done, so we have created this crisis ourselves.

Now it is going to take an effort similar to what Canada did in World War 2, but the difference is that there the enemy was obvious to everyone.

Lastly, there is an accusation that us climate change believers want to redistribute the wealth, and therein lays the crux of the problem with those who deny the existence of climate change. They are seeing fixing the problem as a threat to their way of life.

Of course wealth should be redistributed, because the current system is making a very few people fabulously wealthy, and able to afford to build spaceships simply to give them a thrill to be able to see Earth from space, while many of the rest of us struggle to make ends meet.

I have responded on several occasions to people who think that people like me want to increase the tax on anyone earning over six figures. Not so. The number is considerably higher than that. When even a 1% wealth tax will generate billions in revenue, you get a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

We need a government that is willing to step up to the plate, and do what is necessary to secure the future of this planet and of future generations. Business as usual is what has got us to this point, and, pretty soon, you may well be able to see the consequences from your very own window. By that time, it will be far too late.

We are about to be thrust into another Federal election that many of us do not want or need, so how about trying something different than the same governments whose policies have got us into this mess.

Governments are supposed to be for all of the people, not just the wealthy, many of whom have also profited handsomely from this pandemic, to the detriment of many of the rest of us. It is time for a change.

Colin Creasey,
Kemptville

 

Dear Editor,
After reading Christine Dorothy’s letter, printed in last week’s paper (August 11, 2021), I have to say – Alarms save lives. And not just the human kind, either. To deny that anything is the matter may be a fatal position to take; we have a responsibility to respond to this environmental crisis or at least step aside and let those who understand what it is that is at stake take the lead.

Growing up in this rural and agricultural community I have witnessed first hand the climate change that has/is taking place – socially, politically AND environmentally. And it is not all bad. There is a lot of good gowing on across SD&G. My fear is that enough won’t realize what it is we have until it’s gone.

I can see direct links between current agricultural practices and the changing local weather patterns. We’ve created deserts. Perhaps not intentionally, but those huge fields you see are devoid of life when the corn and beans come off – that is not a natural way of producing food – nor is it sustainable.

Have you, Christine, ever wondered why you never see people out in the middle of thousand acre soybean fields in July and August? Do you see those fields from your window? It’s because it is hot as hell and the crops being grown have been bred to withstand extreme heat.

Without throwing blame – because I actually believe we can turn things around – it is safe to say that the current practices as employed by large industrial agriculture operations are desertifying our local ecosystems. It isn’t the first time humankind has recognized that practices need to change.

We have access to knowledge, seeds and seasoned farmers who are incredibly competent at producing high quality crops and food products. We also have a new generation of farmers who are taking a different approach, and succeeding.

Jaymie Thurler of Rutabaga Ranch is one of a new generation of producers stepping up to the plate. Other families like the Biemond’s of Upper Canada Creamery and Brian McIntosh of BriMac Farms are already doing the work, among many others, and it’s high-time they get the credit they are due.

I love this community – I’ve tried to live here my whole life. The reality I am facing is that I can’t afford to live here. I also can’t afford to let my experiences within this community fall to waste because I know I am not the only one who sees that some things need to change.

We are supposed to change – that’s called evolution. That’s called survival. And it starts from the ground up.

Respectfully,
Mannie Giles

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