– a note from Dr. Faisal Moola, Director General of the David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario and Northern Canada.
Recently the world’s authority on the science of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a major report that summarized our current state of knowledge on the impacts of global warming on the planet. The scientists reported that changes to our climate from the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions will mean higher food prices, will threaten our communities with more frequent and intense storms, and are already harming our forests, oceans and other wildlife habitat. The impacts of climate change overseas, especially in developing nations, are far more horrific.
We’ve heard these sorts of dire warnings from the science community before, and sadly, it is unlikely that the publication of these new findings by the IPCC will have much impact on the public, let alone our policy-makers.
Enter Zadie Smith.
The English novelist and essayist published an article in the New York Review of Books timed with the IPCC report. It also addressed the impacts of climate change, but in a very different way. In her piece, titled “Elegy for a Country’s Seasons”, Smith writes of those intimate experiences that we are losing with climate change.
“What “used to be” is painful to remember. Forcing the spike of an unlit firework into the cold, dry ground. Admiring the frost on the holly berries, en route to school. Taking a long, restorative walk on Boxing Day in the winter glare. Whole football pitches crunching underfoot. A bit of sun on Pancake Day; a little more for the Grand National. Chilly April showers, Wimbledon warmth. July weddings that could trust in fine weather. The distinct possibility of a Glastonbury sunburn. At least, we say to each other, at least August is still reliably ablaze—in Cornwall if not at carnival. And it’s nice that the Scots can take a little more heat with them when they pack up and leave.”