While Prime Minister Stephen Harper pulls Canada away from its Kyoto commitments, community leaders across the country are taking up the challenge.
In Thunder Bay, a coalition of groups and individuals who are concerned about climate change recently convened at Lakehead University to learn and to reinforce their commitment to lead positive change.
A similar event in Fort Frances emphasized that Northwestern Ontario can clearly articulate its issues and focus on solutions.
It is a format being adopted across North America. When political leaders refuse to acknowledge a problem, community members take on the challenge while they wait for a government that will act on their concerns.
Scientific evidence confirms the time for action is now. The reduction of water levels in Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan are distressing; more upsetting is the fact that water temperatures have been rising over the last 20 years.
It is clear our climate is changing and steps must be taken to slow the process.
Here in the northwest, it doesn’t take a weather expert to know that snow depths have been declining since the 1960s, as has the length of our snow season.
These changing conditions affect every aspect of our environment, especially wildlife. Moose populations are declining while deer and wolf populations increase, resulting in greater incidents of wood ticks and brainworms—both of which further negatively impact moose numbers.
The challenges we face are daunting, but the passion shown by participants at these sessions is encouraging. Furthermore, the progress being made at local levels proves what we can achieve when we work together.
The prime minister may continue to fail us in our desire for effective national measures to deal with climate change, but each of us can—and must—take action to decrease our personal carbon imprint.