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Climate in Crisis Journey - 2006
Dorothy Cutting's Journey Through British Columbia and Yukon
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Driving northward for a cooler future: the Arctic Climate Crisis Journey makes a pit stop in Prince Rupert

C.J. Volney, Prince Rupert Northwest This Week, July 14, 2006

PRINCE RUPERT – In the battle to reclaim the Earth from the clutches of a potentially decimating climate crisis, every little bit helps. In the case of Salt Spring Island’s Dorothy Cutting, a 75 year old Grandmother and self proclaimed ‘recovering American,’ helping to spread awareness about the melting Polar Ice Caps and global climate change has made her go the extra mile, literally. On Canada Day, Cutting left from her home in a Hybrid car. She arrived in Prince Rupert on June 7, and over the next two months she intends to drive across Northern BC, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories to show the world the durability and fuel efficiency benefits of a Hybrid vehicle.

“Except for a few hybrid cars no one has instruments in their cars that read how much gas they are burning,” said Cutting, who wants people to understand how much unnecessary green house gasses they put into the atmosphere everyday. “One of my missions is to get after the Harper government to require all cars sold in Canada to have fuel consumption gauges – so when someone owns an SUV they see exactly how much more fuel they are burning.”

During her journey across the North, Cutting will monitor her car’s fuel consumption rates and mileage. Cutting is expecting to get 100 km to every 5 litres of gas. Of course, Cutting will also be spreading climate change awareness on each pit stop, and so far the responses from the public have been very positive.

“My main goal is to heighten awareness,” acknowledged Cutting. “What I’m doing is unusual. For a 75 year old grandmother with bad arthritis to make this kind of trip, it gets people’s attention. People ask me, why are you leaving your home to do this? The world’s climate crisis is so serious that this is what I have to do. We’re all in a leaky boat that’s sinking and we have to bail like crazy to survive.”

Cutting found inspiration for her journey when her home on Salt Spring Island began to be constantly barraged by freak storms of alarming frequency, storms Cutting believes are the result of shifting weather patterns caused by global warning. Cutting was also inspired by NASA scientist Dr. James Hanson, who has spoken about the reality of the Earth’s climate crisis and has received support from hundreds of scientists around the world.

“We’re not talking about Global Warming anymore, we’re heating the planet to the boiling point – it’s not even climate change, it’s more serious than that – it’s a climate crisis. Rainy places are getting rainier and dry places are getting drier,” said Cutting, who this year has already experienced the unusual heat felt throughout the interior of British Columbia. “BC, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, they are all linked to the global climate crisis. In BC we have problems with warmer water, the salmon streams with increased temperatures will be big trouble, in the interior it’s the driest since 1950’s, even the Cariboo are starving because an early spring destroyed a major food source - everything is different and nature is out of sync…changes are happening in a 100 year period that took 1000 years before.”

One of those major changes is the shrinking polar ice caps, a physical record of how much damage we have done to our planet over the last half century.

“In 10 to 15 years the Polar Ice Caps will suffer dramatic losses. These ice caps are important, not just because of the animals or because they’re pretty, but they are critical for the entire planet – they’re like a mirror held up to the sun that reflects the sun’s rays to help keep the earth cool,” said Cutting, who doesn’t share the beliefs of some members of the scientific community who think it’s too late to save the Polar Ice Caps. The planet has shown that it can heal itself over time, if we buy it some time through government policy and public knowledge.

“We need the government to get to work and do what we pay them for,” Cutting said. “We can’t turn to the US for help. People in that country have lost their freedom and their economy is teetering on the edge of collapse. But in Canada, we’re different. We’re a country of strong minds. We can stand up and demand solutions. We need twice as the omission reductions as the Kyoto Accord. Kyoto was just a baby step – it’s not enough. Canada needs to set an example for the rest of the world – we’ve been doing that for all our history.”

Dorothy Cutting spoke before the Arctic Youth Network in Whitehorse on July 11. Her journey will conclude in Mid-August when she returns home to Salt Spring Island.

75 year old Grandmother Dorothy Cutting and the Arctic Climate Crisis Journey made a stop in Prince Rupert. Cutting is driving a Hybrid car across Northern Canada to spread awareness for global climate change.