Letter to the editor.

Our house is on fire

We are on the cusp of, or may have already surpassed, environmental tipping points

We are in this together. Cowichan, along with the rest of the world, is faced with a climate emergency. With this as a backdrop, scientists, bankers and insurance modellers are grappling with the tripartite concerns of ESG. It is Environmental, Societal, and Governmental policies that will decide our climate fate. It’s not looking good.

The latest publication from Oxford Academic’s Bioscience is that we are on the cusp of, or may have already surpassed, environmental tipping points. These are the points at which earth systems begin synergistic and cascading collapses that cannot be reversed.

Similarly, news about societal disruption and fractiousness around the world triggered by food crop failures and COVID-19 complications suggests we are close to other more human tipping points. On this boundary, civility is put at risk. Think societal inequality, wealth disparity, authoritarian brutality, and refugee pressures.

In the midst of this apocalyptic cauldron we look to governmental leadership for guidance and an organized response. July 29 in Duncan, with a group of like-minded citizens I met with our MP Alistair MacGregor to seek some assurance that he understood this emergency. I can report that he does but he also made it clear that his powers of policy promulgation and influence are so limited that he is rendered impotent. He acknowledges that Canadian constitutional and jurisdictional limits confound his scope of action. He feels as a parliamentarian outside of the governing party that his best and most effective work is done in committee. However, that slow painstaking progress evaporates whenever a writ is dropped as has just happened again. MacGregor’s only remaining leverage is to use moral suasion with his Ottawa colleagues.

In the glare of this climate emergency and our Government of Canada’s failure of leadership, it is incumbent upon each of us individually to bring moral suasion to bear. Our children remind us that “Our house is on fire.” We are in this together and it’s time to grab a bucket or fire extinguisher.

Roger Wiles,

North Cowichan

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