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Climate in Crisis Journey - 2006
Dorothy Cutting's Journey Through British Columbia and Yukon
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Dorothy Cutting is a 75 year old grand mother of four and she wants to scare the hell out of you

Whitehorse Star, July 11, 2006

Dorothy Cutting in WhitehorseShe’s on a life and death mission driving from Salt Spring Island, BC to Inuvik, NWT in her hybrid Honda civic to raise awareness about global warming and her message is startling.

A well read activist on global warming, Cutting says the term climate change is no longer accurate.

“It isn’t just a change anymore, it’s a crisis.”

Cutting is among a growing body of global warming scientists and lay people that fear the world will get hotter faster.

The effects of global warming form a positive feedback loop, a kind of self perpetuating and accelerating mechanism. In other words the effects of global warming actually make global warming worse.

Like the rapidly melting ice caps.

Heat that was reflected off of them is instead absorbed by the water.

Result: it gets hotter.

Like melting permafrost.

As the permafrost in the north thaws it releases massive deposits of methane gas that have been stored for thousands of years. Methane is far more volatile a greenhouse gas than CO2.

Result: it gets hotter

Like forest fires and pine beetles.

As hotter global temperatures lead to more forest fires trees that would absorb CO2 instead burn and release more of it. And pine beetles that are devouring BC forests spread unchecked because winter temperatures don’t get cold enough to kill them off anymore, leaving more dead trees and more forest fires.

Result: it gets hotter.

Cutting is also concerned that the Earth’s ecology can’t handle too much more CO2. When CO2 reaches 400 parts per million (ppm), which could happen in as little as ten years, plants begin to lose their ability to absorb nitrogen, said Cutting.

“This is very serious for our planet.”

Plants would grow stunted and become even less able to process the CO2.

Result: it gets hotter.

All the factors of global warming paint a picture Cutting wants people to know about.

“I call myself the bad guy here. I want to scare people, I want them to become energized so they can exercise the will to survive.”

“No matter what we do now, we’re in for some hard times…We don’t have to wait a life span for really bad things to happen.”

Cutting is worried for the lives of her four grandchildren who she believes will live though the most tragic times humankind has ever known.

“I’ll be one of the fortunate ones, I’ll pull out before the bad things happen…All the grandchildren in the world are at risk, all of them.”

“I can’t imaging what life is going to be like, I know it’s going to be very bad…it makes me very sad when I think about it.”

Cutting expects that Canada’s fresh water resources and northern position will make it a top destination for ecological refugees.

“What are we going to do about them, we can’t kill them, we’ve got to provide for them.”

“We’ve all go to work together on our planet or we’re going to have water wars and fight for food.”

Cutting points to a 2003 Pentagon report called An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.

“Nations with the resources to do so may build virtual fortresses around their countries, preserving resources for themselves. Less fortunate nations especially those with ancient enmities with their neighbors, may initiate in struggles for access to food, clean water, or energy,” said the report.

Its final sentence reads, “Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.”

Despite the grim picture, Cutting is optimistic, confident that humanities will to survive will kick in once the danger becomes evident. But she also knows we have to act quickly.

Cutting will be at the Alpine bakery tonight from 7 pm to 9 pm to give a presentation and show the film Too Hot Not to Handle.