Dorothy Cutting makes second global warming crusade with NWT trip
Gulf Islands Driftwood, Wednesday, June 21, 2006
By stacy cardigan smith
The voice at the other end of the phone is vibrant, excited and,
most of all, passionate.
It is rare to find any individual who emanates this much energy,
let alone a grandmother well into her 70s.
But the owner of this voice is none other than 75-year-old Dorothy
Cutting. Cutting has good reason to be excited. In less than two
weeks, she will get into the driver’s seat of her 2002 Honda
Civic Hybrid and drive to Inuvik, Northwest Territories to protest
global warming. And she will make the journey on her own.
This is not the first time Cutting has embarked on a cross-country
drive. In 2002, after reading Robert Hunter’s 2030: Confronting
Thermageddon in Our Lifetime, Cutting purchased her hybrid and
drove to Ottawa to present a copy of the book to every member
“I was so appalled and frightened by what I read in the
book about global warming,” she said.
She returned from her journey, confident the signing of the Kyoto
Accord would help to control “global heating,” a term
she finds more fitting than global warming.
“Global warming just sounds so comfortable. Everybody likes
to be warm.” But she is back at it, again inspired by a
number of books, including James Lovelock’s The Revenge
of Gaia and Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers.
“I thought, ‘What can I do?’ I only know how
to do one thing, and that’s get in my car and drive.”
She leaves Salt Spring on July 1.
Cutting cited three reasons for her journey. First, she wrote
in an e-mail, she wants “to alert anyone who’ll listen
to the fact that the climate crisis today represents an imminent
risk to our species and to the life on our planet.”
Next, she wants to learn for herself “what is happening
to the Arctic environment and the people of the North” so
she can write a report on the situation there.
She will also document her journey on film. Although Cutting
has never used a camcorder, she agreed to take one on her journey.
In addition, local Salt Spring filmmakers Alan and Terri Bibby
will document parts of Cutting’s journey when they meet
her in Whitehorse.
Finally, Cutting writes, she wants “to energize everyone
I can to call or write Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment
Minister Rona Ambrose and tell them that we must not abandon the
Kyoto Accord; that not only should funding be restored for the
programs to combat global heating that were cut by this government,
but huge sums must be allocated to go beyond what was envisioned
by the Martin government in developing clean alternative sources
Cutting’s journey is sponsored by the Sierra Club of Canada,
which also sponsored her 2002 drive.
“Dorothy’s courage and passion about what will happen
to future generations if we don’t act now to reverse the
build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will inspire individuals
and our government to do their part to avoid this impending catastrophe,”
said Sierra Club’s executive director Stephen Hazell.
Since her journey back in 2002, Cutting said she hasn’t
put many kilometres on her car and she does her best to refrain
from driving whenever possible.
“I don’t go to town unless I have a lot of errands
to run.” But aware of her vehicle’s CO2 emissions,
Cutting signed up with TerraPass ( www.terrapass.com). TerraPass
is an organization that funds clean energy projects that reduce
industrial carbon dioxide emissions.
Dorothy admits she is nervous about her journey. “I haven’t
had the courage to count the kilometres.” But she hopes
it will positively impact others.
“I want to do this drive by myself, not because I’m
a martyr, but because when I tell people I’m going to the
Arctic, they ask ‘Alone?’ It’s the fact I’m
alone that gets people’s attention.”
To raise funds for her journey, Cutting is hosting a special
screening of HBO’s documentary Too Hot Not to Handle on
June 29 at Cinema Central.
In addition, she will promote her drive and take donations at
a Saturday market table in Ganges.
Cutting is thankful for support she has received from the community.
“I couldn’t do this without the Salt Spring Island
community. Their support and their nourishment have given me the
strength to do this.”
For more information, check out Cutting’s website at www.sierraclub.ca/national/dorothy-cutting/index.html.