JGI/Tom Grill via Getty Images
We've upset the Earth's carbon cycle by burning fossil fuels and destroying forests and wetlands. Plants help rebalance it by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. And rising atmospheric CO2 actually increases pollen production.
Doing nothing isn't an option. That would lead to a significant increase in global average temperatures and extreme weather-related events. Because we've stalled so long, thanks largely to deceptive campaigns run by a small but powerful group of entrenched fossil fuel industry interests and the intransigence of some short-sighted governments, we must also consider ways to adapt to climate change that's already occurring and that we can't stop. Considering the costs and losses climate change and extreme weather impose on our cities, communities and food systems, we can't afford not to act.
The world first heard urgent climate change warnings in 1988, issued by an international meeting of climatologists in Toronto. The evidence then was so compelling that one report declared global warming a threat to human survival second only to nuclear war and called for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 15 years. The anecdotes in a new film, Climate Change in Atlantic Canada, add up to an overwhelming warning that social, economic and ecological costs are rapidly mounting and we must take climate change seriously. As one person says, "If you don't believe it, just look out the window."