Where there’s smoke, there are now vacation plans.
In fact, the vacation plans are occurring before the smoke arrives as more and more people plan to be out of town during periods of the summer as they anticipate the summer of 2019 will be as smoky as the summers of 2018 and 2017.
Whether that comes to pass remains to be seen, though a forecast that calls for a high of 30 C by this Friday and news of what may become annual wildfire-threat grants being disbursed ($2.2 million for the City of Kamloops, TNRD, Sun Peaks and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, among others) would suggest the fires and smoke will likely return.
The near year-round effort to reduce the conditions that can fuel wildfires are a direct result of a changing climate, which is politicians are the local, provincial and federal levels are focusing much more attention and money on climate change measures, including behaviour and mitigation.
Highlighting the massive challenge being tackled was the release this week of a major study that makes for depressing reading.
It appears the human race has done a tremendous job in hastening the extinction of many species, with another million at risk due to our species’ unfettered growth.
The 1,500-page report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that up to one million of the planet’s estimated eight-million species of animals, plants and insects are at risk of extinction, many within decades.
The report cited industrial farming and fishing as being the activities behind the crisis, with “the current rate of species extinction tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the last 10-million years.”
The report noted climate change caused by use of fossil fuels is exacerbating the losses.
Robert Watson, who chaired the study, summed it up succinctly, with a stark message: “If we want to leave a world for our children and grandchildren that has not been destroyed by human activity, we need to act now.”