Earth’s destabilizing climate with escalating extreme weather events is attributed to human behaviour. Carbon dioxide level increases in Earth’s atmosphere appears vertical on graphs since 2022 – now at 420 parts per million. The last time the planet saw 400 ppm C02 was three to four million years ago during the Pliocene period when global sea levels were 10-20 metres higher, and temperatures globally were two to three degrees Celsius higher. But those changes occurred over millions of years, not over two centuries. Scientists are now tracking increasingly faster changes with interconnected cumulative effects at only 1.1-1.2 degrees of global warming.
The warming planet exponentially increases melting (permafrost, Greenland ice sheet, Arctic Sea ice, Antarctica’s Thwaite’s glacier and western ice sheet), droughts, wildfires, floods, and extreme heat on land and in oceans. Sea level rise means even more devastating storm surges.
At a time when humans (and all life forms) are being pummelled by the violence of natural phenomena, we must reframe our relationship with nature. We must stop Ecophobia, “an ethical undervaluing of the natural environment that can result in cataclysmic environmental change.” We must love nature, respect and nurture it.
Respecting our place in the natural world means we “love not man the less, but nature more” (George Byron).
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Reframe your actions from the perspective of frogs, insects, birds, fish, trees, water systems, air.
- Drive less. Drive slower. Mow less. Eat less meat. Grow more fruits and vegetables. Waste less. Buy less. Consume less. Toss out less. Fix more. Share more. Grow more flowers and trees. Compost. Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Buy local.
- Allowing your lawn to grow for at least one full month can provide enough nectar for 10 times the number of bees and pollinators than does a regularly cut lawn, and provides insects, frogs, and snakes their habitats, plus conserves water. Use native drought resistant plants and you will enjoy a colourful landscape. Birds also benefit from less noise and gas pollution.
- See the Haliburton County Master Gardeners website for ideas to naturalize your garden. Abbey Gardens offers gardening and ecology-based workshops with a sustainable and reclaimable focus.
- Be sure to use rainwater and gray water.
- Build bird boxes and bird baths. Protect birds from hitting your windows. Vertical blinds work. Draw vertical lines with a bar of soap or hang ribbons.
- Support the Haliburton Apple Tree Identification Project, SIRCH Apple Sauce Project, U-Links and Master Gardeners Heritage Apple Project.
- Support local farmers markets (Haliburton, Minden, Stanhope, Abbey Gardens).
- Try the Fork Ranger App to learn the environmental impact of your food choices from seed to table.
- Try indoor tower gardens (see Minden Mercantile options), smart gardens and garden kits.
- Get political. Push for local public transportation. Send messages to our members of parliament urging rapid phase out of oil and gas.
- Use the Haliburton County Waste Wizard App and follow reuse, reduce, recycle practices.
- Choose sustainable products or eco-friendly products having cradle to a grave approach.
Simple actions to protect mother Earth include buying local and seasonal produce, closing curtains on hot days, surrounding your home with native greenery, turning off all electrical appliances instead of putting them on standby when not in use, using carpools whenever possible and avoiding plastic bags.