The tree huggers were right


I also remember when Greenpeace began as a small local organization. Who knew at the time that it would grow into an international powerhouse? It’s taken 30 years, but the message finally seems to be hitting home. We can’t continue destroying the planet. More and more I find the environment and climate change on the minds of people I talk to day-to-day, and frequent fodder on the open lines on radio. Look for the environment to emerge as one of the biggest issues this year, and to play a big role in an expected federal election. We are starting to see the signs already.

In a poll conducted for this issue of BCBusiness, 75 per cent of people making more than $100,000 a year said global warming was a big issue. I picked up an old issue of Vanity Fair magazine recently and finally took the time to read former U.S. vice-president Al Gore’s essay on global warming. That same morning, I picked up a copy of the Vancouver Sun, which had front-page stories about the U.S. thinking of putting polar bears on the endangered species list because so many are vanishing. Members of the Bush administration are acknowledging that climate change may be the reason.

Following Stéphane Dion’s election as leader of the Liberal Party, Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that it’s pretty hard to ignore the science that points to climate change.

Two years ago, I sat on a beach on the Sunshine Coast the day after the tsunami wreaked havoc in Southeast Asia, and I wondered what climate change could mean to our coastlines. Part of our problem is that we are seeing what seems like more extreme weather, but we don’t know exactly what’s responsible. We even see some extended periods of really nice weather, like the spring southern B.C. recently enjoyed, and there’s a temptation to say, “If this is global warming, bring it on!”

Al Gore calls climate change a planetary emergency that may appear to be coming slowly, but he insists that if we don’t act boldly and quickly, our world will likely experience a string of catastrophes, including deadly hurricanes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. We had our own taste of extreme weather in December with the fierce windstorm that devastated Stanley Park.