"Wildfire smoke is so thick in Prince George, it looks like night, after the sun has risen." That's a description of noon yesterday in the northern B.C. city of 74,003. Evacuations, damaged health, Beijing-like fog, nightmarish infernos. Welcome to the new normal.

It's a scary new normal where a churning tornado filled with fire the size of three football fields whipped up, raging out of the largest wildfire in California history. Extreme conditions and intense heat fueled the plume, Time Magazine writes. "It launched power line support towers, cars, and a shipping container into the air." It left "not a living branch for kilometres." A thousand feet wide, it shot seven and a half miles into the sky, reached speeds of up to 165 miles per hour with temperatures that likely exceeded 2700 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a report by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It took the life of a firefighter who was trying to help people in Redding, California, on July 26th.

It's easy to feel like the world's coming to an end when the landscape you love is going up in flames. Dark humour can be momentarily uplifting. "We'll all leave Earth in a spaceship to settle on Mars! It'll be fun!" But dark humour isn't going to solve things. Reducing global warming is.

With this as the context, I was pretty surprised, and disappointed, a few days ago when I read that the prime minister and his cabinet members would be meeting in Nanaimo this weekend, and that their agenda – as outlined in an initial media advisory – made no mention of climate policy. Even while British Columbia is burning.

According to the advisory, cabinet ministers will discuss, "ways to deliver economic growth and create good, middle class jobs for Canadians," and especially focus on trade and border security.

On Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau similarly emphasized the goals of the meeting.

It's absurd for ministers to meet in a province where nearly 600 wildfires are burning and to leave climate change off the agenda. It's an international problem that requires relentless, focused global effort and Canada should not only participate in this effort, Canada should lead.

It's absurd for ministers to meet in a province where nearly 600 wildfires are burning and to leave climate change off the agenda. #cdnpoli #bcpoli

Meanwhile, in Prince George, the biggest fire in British Columbia continues to rage and the air quality was so poor in the area it broke all previous records today.

Scientists have warned for years that climate change would bring disastrous instability and suffering to all living beings. As their warnings prove true, those of us breathing the smoke in B.C. can only shake our heads and hope that tomorrow, or soon, the winds will shift and climate change will take the central position on this cabinet's agenda.

Dear Prime Minister, please add climate change to tomorrow's agenda.

Keep reading

Justin is coming to Nanaimo Tuesday I'm going to be there with a message for him. I'd love to have you join me. Thanks.

Thank you Ms. Solomon Wood for pointing out to the Justin Trudeau government "The Climate Change Elephant on the World Stage" that his government is ignoring. I had a call yesterday from CEO of a German company. His first question was "Why are you Canadians trying to kill us all with your fossil fuel development and then shared that Germany will have surplus of sustainable energy this year. Dr. Jem Bendell a sustainability expert studied all the latest climate change research and concluded: The world of academia is starting to pick up on the concept that humanity is unknowingly cruising on a train ride to doomsday, a surefire encounter with collapse of society based upon climate crises brought on by exponential climate change. The depth of the problem: It’s inevitable and inescapable. Nonetheless, people do not want to discuss and/or read about an impending disruption to society, especially on the scale of a collapse. Still, some academics consider it responsible and in fact necessary to communicate the issue on a pre-collapse basis in order for people to learn to support each other and to explore the radical implications well ahead of time. Hence, the premise for Professor Jem Bendell’s brilliant seminal work, “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, July 27th 2018.” (http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf) Accordingly, at the opening of the essay: “It is time we consider the implications of it being too late to avert a global environmental catastrophe in the lifetimes of people alive today."

I agree with you that what the Canadian federal government is doing dealing with climate change is unacceptable. Regarding Germany's energy policy, it's true that Germany has invested massively in wind and solar energy, but Germany still gets about 40% of its energy from the dirtiest and lowest quality of coal. To get to that coal, german authorities had to move people from their towns and villages which for some of them date as far as the middle ages.

Too bad Trudeau's good middle class jobs come with the hefty price tag of environmental disaster attached. Let's keep building pipelines.

Exactly. I'm starting to suspect you have to be either a psychopath, or not smart enough to understand the science....to believe that we can avert climate disaster while building new pipelines....for unconventional fossil fuels yet...stuff that doesn't even flow without huge investments in light hydrocarbons.

I guess schizophrenia is a third possible explanation for how they go about doing business....mental illness being a condition we can have some sympathy for.

But where are the sane, smart, ethical folks...and why aren't we electing more of them?

Yes Mary, couldn't agree more "...where are the sane, smart, ethical folks....and why aren't we electing more of them." It seems that people in general, like our beloved teenagers, learn mostly from experience...and so we the people may have to experience a bit more climate change disaster before we "get" the science that has so clearly been analyzed for us by the world's scientists, for decades now they have been alerting us. Why has the world's leadership failed to listen? We were so close in Paris, and then, the leadership changed in the US. If the world's powerful leadership does not educate and participate in pointing their nations into the right direction towards basic long term survival, we, the people, were wrong in electing them. Perhaps we were deceived by candidates. Perhaps we have no clue about pressures surrounding leaders once they are in position. Whatever the reason, voices of the world's vast civil populations need to speak. As food stuffs and habitable land become less abundant, we could basically be reduced to struggling, feuding barbaric tribes from whence we evolved. Lucky for some people, that sea water, in vastly greater volumes as ice melts, will continue to separate the Continents, for a short time anyway.

Good question. Where is the environment?

BC has sent out an NDP Consultation document for their proposed items to be included in their way forward to decrease BC greenhouse gas emissions. Interestingly there is no recognition of their proposed LNG export terminal or it's impact on BC GHG emissions. HUGH!

So, BC NDP is following the Liberals lead in Ottawa to ignore the full story of Canada's GHG emissions while they talk and wave their arms about looking out for our future.

Also on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, Canada will assume the liabilities of owning the 65 year old line! How many super fund sites have we bought? Why is no one else stepping forward to buy this project?

There are so many ways our government at the national level could foster and support sustainable energy/economies. Little to nothing is being done. The Trudeau government simply ignores the science based evidence that immediate paradigm shift is essential for our survival. Supporting and in the drivers seat building an ever greater fossil fuel/pipeline economy betrays our trust. This is the gravest betrayal we have experienced by our national government. Trudeau and the Liberals knew full well what they had to promise to get elected. One of these promises was for a revamped more honest environmental assessment of the trans Mountain pipeline. After pseudo consultations with the Canadian public Trudeau and his party did an abrupt about face and came out strongly for tar sands expansion. This is beyond belief. We must defeat this government and choose one that sustains our future and our environment. Come out in Nanaimo to tell the world what we think of Trudeau's betrayal tomorrow or Wednesday.

Mr. Trudeau made many election promises in 2015. Is anyone surprised that he turned out to be just another politician hustling for votes? In my opinion his legacy is secure.

The book summarizing Nobel Prize winning research that explores our biased minds (how unconscious we are and how we don't realize it) and gives one a chance to try the mental experiments that were used in the research: "Thinking Fast and Slow" - we are quite the primitive specimens and have too much power - both to rationalize, and to act on our flawed assumptions ; as well, to avoid that which is inconvenient and would require effort and change, even if it is the 6th great extinction we face. Another positive feedback : quote from a friend: "I was working on a lesson and came across a grim positive feedback statistic. In 2015, Canadian managed forests (65% of total forested area in Canada) assimilate ~26 Megatonnes of CO2 per year. Forest fires from the same forests emitted ~247 Mg CO2 per year. So the net emissions from those forests is a positive 211 Mg tonnes CO2 per year."

The description of the fireball in California is terrifying. Somehow I missed that one. However, this month's Harpers has two articles on the new extreme fires the planet is enduring.........and last year in Portugal, a similar fireball bursting heavenward and then falling back to earth to incinerate everything in its large circle...was part of what killed, I think, 47 people in that region. They simply couldn't get out fast enough.

So there are two aspects of these new fires. How more widespread they are is the first. But the relatively new extreme nature of how they burn is the second. Climate change is responsible for both phenomena, but what should scare us all, is how uncontrollable these climate induced blazes are likely to me.

We can't fight them with present techniques and technology. And water? Turns out that's not in infinite supply either...drought hungry farms also need to suck up more and more of it.

That our leaders continue to talk about long distance trade...and growth!!! When the actual GROWTH on our planet now is the astronomical growth in natural disasters....says something about both the ethics...and the intelligence of the current crew we've empowered to keep us safe.

At the same time, we likely need to acknowledge that it may be Us..."WE THE PEOPLE".... that they fear speaking truth to. What percentage of the population wants to adress any of the elephants in the room???

Thank you Linda. Needs repetition over and over and adding a medical analogy to access existing cognitive frame in the public. I am starting to comment , over and over how both journalistic coverage and government action focuses on adaptation and or treatment of the symptoms but not addressing natural history and prognosis of the disease as well as preparing the "patient" for necessary treatment including lifestyle changes. The inevitable outcome is extinction. There is no greater public health threat.