Woefully Unprepared

Residents wade through a flooded Montreal street May 7, 2017.

It’s only been a year since the devastating Fort Mac fire, which leveled about 20% of the booming Canadian oil city of around 80,000. Breathe the words climate change about it and you’re literally shot. In Fort Mac the people and the government turned their heads even as explosive flames were on the city edges. Then on May 3, 2016 strong winds blasted the wildfire into the city. Near total chaos ensued. The provincial government only gave the evacuation order hours after entire neighborhoods were burning down. I documented the whole slew of denial here. The outcome could have been much, much worse.

Now there’s this year’s flooding, another billion dollar damage event in the making. Not even an El Niño year. Reports indicate close to 4,000 homes in Quebec are flooded to some extent or another in 150 municipalities. Some homes in Ottawa, Ontario were also affected. A significant snow melt combined with a large, stalled wet weather system was the culprit. More climate change fingerprints. The old timeline is really playing out…

The disaster response was predictably not good. But Canadians were already warned they are woefully unprepared for climate change. The Feds sent in the army way too late and many evacuees felt left behind. In Montreal a man was taken away in handcuffs for trying to sandbag his street as the City did nothing. Residents there also felt abandoned. The public are simply maladaptive and already far behind what is an accelerating crisis. Governments are gone. Prime Minister Trudeau’s answer to climate change was approval of the Kinder Morgan expansion pipeline and Petronas LNG projects in BC last year. On this flood he was virtually absent- spare a sandbag filling photo-op.

The goal posts of life here need to be adjusted more. Disasters are the norm now, to be expected. The scope and scale will get worse even if humans grossly improve their consciousness, at least for awhile. There’s no chance we’ll find and colonize another Earth-like planet in the next hundred years, as renowned physicist Stephen Hawking suggests humans now need to do to survive Earth’s destruction. With the stable Holocene era over the 21st century human needs to be psychologically and spiritually able to handle multiple or continual states of crises. It’s the template a new human species can emerge from.

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