Sierra Club of Canada
Climate in Crisis Journey - 2006
Dorothy Cutting's Journey Through British Columbia and Yukon
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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 of Parliament.

“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 of energy.”

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.