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Climate in Crisis Journey - 2006
Dorothy Cutting's Journey Through British Columbia and Yukon
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Fighting “global heating”

Prince George Free Press, Friday, July 7, 2006

Seventy-fire-year-old grandmother Dorothy Cutting is travelling from southern B.C. to the northern extremes of Canada to raise awareness about, “global heating.”

“I don’t call it global warming anymore, I call global heating. Warming sounds pleasant and comfortable. This isn’t warming, it’s hot,” Cutting said.

Cutting was in Prince George, Tuesday, on her way to Prince Rupert before heading further north to Whitehorse, Dawson City, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk and beyond. She’s making the journey from her home on Salt Spring Island in a Honda Civic Hybrid car.

Cutting is a self-proclaimed news junkie and “recovering American” who said she was surprised when she found out how much the global climate was changing.

“I was just angry because we’ve been lied to. Nobody has been telling us the truth of how bad it really is – even the environmental groups,” she explained. “I get e-mails from these groups about saving the polar bears. We can’t save the polar bears. A new study by the U.S. Navy said the summer ice [in the arctic] may be gone in 10 to 15 years.”

The summer ice floes have lost 40 per cent of their mass since 2000, she added.

Polar bears need that ice to hunt seals and live on, she said, and already they are starving and drowning in the summer thaws.

In the north, the caribou are also suffering as weather patterns effect their food sources, she added.

“It’s animals, trees and indigenous peoples who are going to suffer most, and they’ve done nothing to deserve it,” Cutting said. “[But] we’re all in this leaky boat together and we need to start bailing.”

Seeing the impact of the mountain pine beetle has been a shocking experience, she said.

“It’s the saddest thing in the world. All you can see is dead trees,” she said. “And the warmer it gets the more the infestation will spread.”

In addition to raising awareness, Cutting will be recording her experiences to make a documentary about her trip and conditions in the far north. She hopes to present the documentary to federal Minister of the Environment Rona Ambrose.

“I’ll camp out on Parliament Hill, whatever it takes to get her to listen to me,” she said.

Cutting said she believed Ambrose and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have been misinformed about the state of the environment.

But time is running out, she said. Scientists believe if current trends aren’t changed within 10 to 25 years, it will be too late.

When carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reach 400 parts per million (ppm), plants get saturated with it and can’t absorb any more. Currently we rely on plants to absorb half the carbon dioxide produced on earth, she added.

“In Europe, where they are supposed to be on top of these things, the lowest target levels they’ve set are 450 ppm,” Cutting said. “If our biosphere is poisoned there is no going back. When you get to be my age you either love this world or you hate it. I really love it and I’m going to be fighting as hard as I can over the next 10 years.”

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