What is Climate Change?
Climate change can be defined as:
"Long-term change in average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates."
- NASA, Global Climate Change
Earth's climate has always fluctuated throughout history- as it has been much cooler and warmer than it is today. In recent decades, Stanford scientists have observed Earth's climate warming 10 times faster than it has in the past 65 million years- with the Industrial Revolution being a significant trigger.
In the IPCC’S 2013 report, data reveals that human emissions and activities have created 100% of the observed warming in our climate since 1950- with energy consumption being a main cause. For example, every time a fossil fuel (i.e., coal, oil, & gas) is burned to heat and power the billions of homes, businesses, and cars across the world- a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2) gets produced and released into our atmosphere. Over time, this gas absorbs and re-emits infrared energy from the sun, causing a warming or greenhouse effect to occur on Earth.
Other human activities that contribute to climate change today include:
- Intensive agriculture
This rapid warming affects different communities and areas of the planet differently- especially those who are least responsible for it or areas with crucial ecological importance. For example, the Arctic poles are warming at two or three times the global average, resulting in accelerated ocean warming, sea ice melt, sea-level rise, and habitat loss.
Why Does Climate Action Matter?Climate change has already caused observable effects in Thunder Bay, such as prolonged heat waves, torrential rainstorms, rising Great Lakes temperatures, and droughts over the last few decades. By taking bold, urgent action- we can help mitigate these effects in our region and strengthen our adaptive capacity as a community!
Take Action in Thunder Bay
Here are some ways you can take action against climate change in our community:
- How do you want to make your voice heard? You can join one of EarthCare’s Working Groups to share your ideas, become a Community Partner to support the implementation of the EarthCare Sustainability Plan, or urge your member of provincial or federal Parliament to take bold climate action! There are also several local grassroots organizations that are committed to fighting the crisis, and some designed specifically for youth. For example, Environment North, CUSP (Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet), and Fridays For Future Thunder Bay are excellent initiatives to take part in. National groups such as 350.org can also help you to stay informed and take political action, from signing petitions, to on-the-street protests!
- Educating ourselves and starting climate conversations with others is the first major step to taking action. Take a look at Climate Change TBay’s locally relevant collection of resources on the current impacts of climate change in our community, climate research, and a detailed list of solutions and actions to take.
- Transportation is one of the greatest contributions to anthropogenic GHG emissions. If we want to mitigate warming to 1.5 C, we must reduce global emissions by 2030, and reach net-zero by 2050. Investing in greener transportation options such as a City of Thunder Bay Public Transit pass, electric-powered bikes or cars, carbon offsets for flying, or participating in EcoSuperior’s Active Transportation programming are all great options for reducing our impacts locally.
- Did you know that eating a plant-based diet can reduce GHG emissions? Similarly, growing your own food, or choosing to buy local foods from the Tbay Country Market or Roots to Harvest can be equally as rewarding! Additionally, TBay in Season’s Get Fresh Guide is a great tool for finding local growers, producers, and markets in our area.
- Make your home resilient to climate change! Whether you get a home energy audit done from EcoSuperior, plant more trees, invest in solar energy, buy a compost bin or rain barrel for water harvesting, your home will be well prepared for any changes that come your way.
"Defending the living world and defending the climate are, in many cases, one and the same"
- A letter by Greta Thunberg, David Suzuki, and 21 others
Thunder Bay Climate Change Connectors Fact Sheets
Click below to see the range of fact sheets designed to help you take action in Thunder Bay this year:
Final Quote"We do not accept climate change because we wish to avoid the anxiety it generates and the deep changes it requires. In this regard, it is not unlike any other major threat. However, because it carries none of the clear markers that would normally lead our brains to overrule our short-term interests, we actively conspire with each other, and mobilize our own biases to keep it perpetually in the background.”
- George Marshall