Doesn’t it feel like we’ve been tossing around in a washing machine of natural disasters in 2017? Hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, drought, storm surge… earthquakes! Is this because of climate change or is it just weather?
What’s the difference between climate and weather?
Climate is different than weather and both are driven by global warming and human land use.
Weather is local and temporary. It’s how the atmosphere is behaving at a particular time in a certain place. Temperature, rain, snow, and wind are all elements of weather. Weather is variable and constantly changing. When you look out your window, you are looking at weather; the 7-day temperature, sun, rain or snow forecasts are telling you about the expected weather.
image source: The Weather Network
A hurricane, snowstorm or heat wave is weather – not climate.
Thinking bigger picture, climate describes average atmospheric indicators like...
Hunting is no longer the biggest fire burning at the grizzly bear’s cave door.
No, I’m not a Grizzly Bear Biologist and I'm not a hunter. I am a Systems Ecologist & Professional Forester – much of my career’s work has centered around understanding the cumulative effects people and nature have on one another and using that knowledge to help plan for a future we all want.
This week the fledgling new British Columbia Government announced it will fulfill an election promise by banning “Trophy Hunting” of Grizzly Bears in the Province.
But you can still kill them as long as you pack the meat out and turn in the head, paws and hide to the Government – and providing you are not in the Great Bear Rainforest.
It appears that killing grizzly bears is not really perceived as a threat to their survival – but the social acceptability of killing them for “sport” does appear to be on the decline.
All of us find ourselves making choices about our behavior everyday - whether to act for immediate benefit or to invest in future benefits. It’s a difficult struggle that crosses many basic lines – food, exercise, finance, relationships, – the list is very long. Behavior Psychologists have shown us time and again that when we make decisions to invest in the future and delay gratification – we are more successful. But for many, perhaps most, the pain of discipline is too high when the opportunity of immediate gratification is at hand.
When we think about this struggle in terms of climate change, we can boil it down to differences in whether we are willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain – or maybe more modestly – long-term sustain.
As an example, oil transport...
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” – Steve Jobs
Did you watch Before The Flood? You should – don’t rely on the pundits to tell you what to think about it – evaluate the message for yourself. And do yourself a favour and leave your “position” on climate change at the door for 90 minutes.
Leonardo DiCaprio uses story telling to convey his message that climate change is something we should all be taking seriously. Using powerful visuals, the movie shares some of the less desirable cause // effect relationships between humans and the Earth through the industrial age. It goes on to describe the “Business As Usual” scenario for the future – that is, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, then we should expect some very unpleasant outcomes.
Most importantly, the movie...
Reports of human loss and suffering from flooding are reported at least weekly, if not nightly, in mainstream media. And while the axiom “if it bleeds it leads” may heighten our perception of how bad it is, the impacts of floods on people and their homes is on the rise. According to the report Cities and Flooding  commissioned by the World Bank, the 10-year moving median # of reported flood events is rising steadily and is a full 16 times higher in 2010 than 50 years earlier.
But floods are nothing new. Rather, they are natural events that have been happening for millennia, shaping the earth we live on and creating much of the natural bounty that supports us today.
Still, we villainize nature when she brings us harm. Floods, like wildfires, have gotten a very bad name because of the harm to people we associate with these events. But Mother Nature is not the problem. Dr. Gilbert White, the late founder of the internationally recognized...