In my research on Canadian and American emergency management agencies, I've found significant differences between official disaster strategies and how disaster responses actually unfold. For example, 'lessons learned' and theories of emergency management consistently call for formal coordination of all the organizations involved in disaster response.
Earth is clearly experiencing more frequent extreme weather than in the past, and we can expect it to get worse as we burn more coal, oil and gas and pump more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This can have profound and costly impacts on everything from agriculture to infrastructure, not to mention human health and life.
There are a group of people often overlooked in the fight against climate change and they can be one of our greatest allies as we figure out how to limit the damage from extreme weather, rising seas and threats to food security. They are the millions of indigenous people who live in the world's remaining forests. Often overlooked, ignored, marginalized and attacked, they stand at the heart of a global solution on climate change that all of us, whether we live in big cities or remote villages, can benefit from.
Depending on where you are, it's been getting hotter, colder, drier, wetter, stormier. Indeed, the changes, particularly the intensity of heatwaves and droughts, have been occurring faster than many scientists predicted. And that's made it a bit easier to feel there is something real about climate change.
Like smokers who put off quitting until their health starts to suffer, we're learning what happens when bad habits catch up with us. We're witnessing the terrible effects of fossil fuel addiction every day. Transport accidents are also increasing as governments and industry scramble to get fuels out of the ground and to market as quickly as possible.
When the flooding began in Canmore on the night of June 19th, nobody expected that the next few days would become such a nightmare for Southern Alberta. When the water finally began to recede, people transitioned from survival to recovery. Now, we're all learning to live with it. The financial devastation is going to be incredibly difficult for many to handle. Even for those who have policies with insurance companies who are covering some of their damage, the floods have obliterated any budget planning and savings for a lot of families. We've been told for years that many Canadians are carrying too much debt. Something like this increases the burden of that weight and some may break under it.
It is a terrible irony that in order to eke out a living, Ugandan villagers must farm Mount Elgon to the point where it threatens their survival. The loss of their land, and the destruction of the environment have put them at the mercy of forces beyond their control. As climate change places increasing pressures on the Third World such tragedies will become the norm.