Firefighters drag a hose to battle a fire near Bendalong, Australia, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

What will finally be enough to wake up the world to climate change?

How many photos and videos of disasters will it take before we stop wasting time?

Maybe the photos and videos of desperately thirsty and burned koalas in Australia will finally prompt wealthy countries like Canada and Australia to start taking climate change seriously.

Oh, our governments in Canada mostly talk a good game (though there remain some who cling desperately to denial in the face of all evidence to the contrary, whether for their own selfish political bid for credulous followers, or true disbeliever fervor). But what are they really doing besides continuing to dig up the tar sands and frack every possible inch of ground and ocean floor to try to suck up more fossil fuels for us to burn?

It’s astonishing that in the face of evidence we’ve all seen and heard and even touched, we are still too in denial about the crisis nature of climate change to act to try to save ourselves and our world, even if we aren’t in denial intellectually. But continue on as if we don’t have to change what we do.

That’s after Fort McMurray burned in Alberta. After thousands were evacuated in the B.C. Interior as fires destroyed everything in their path. After the skies above Vancouver Island rained ash and the sun turned an ominous red from our own fires and those on the mainland. After hurricanes of unusual strength at unusual times have devastated entire countries, and fire has turned huge swaths of the Amazon rainforest to charcoal (but not here, so I guess we can forget about it quickly).

How many photos and videos of disasters will it take before we stop stalling and wasting time with the wearying debate over if we need to do something, and move on to real plans about how quickly we can make changes that have a fighting chance of saving those thousands of koalas and kangaroos and birds that are paying for our hubris? How many disasters do we have to go through ourselves?

In Australia the prime minister is under pressure from horrified and angry residents. We can only hope it galvanizes the government there into action. We can only hope this latest tragedy is the one that galvanizes the world.

– Cowichan Valley Citizen

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