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Climate in Crisis Journey - 2006
Dorothy Cutting's Journey Through British Columbia and Yukon
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Green Grandma still going strong

Vanderhoof Omineca Express, Friday, July 14, 2006

According to Dorothy Cutting, you’re never too old to give a damn.

The 75-year-old environmental activist and longtime member of the Sierra Club, is currently on a Western Canadian road trip where she hopes to bring her green-first message to communities from Salt Spring Island to Whitehorse.

“I’m so excited about spreading the message of environmentalism,” said the Salt Spring resident during a coffee break at Woody’s Bakery last Wednesday. “I’m meeting all sorts of wonderful people, and so many of us share the same concerns...I’ll be meeting with First Nations elders in Whitehorse and that should be very informative.”

Cutting’s main concern is global warming, though she sometimes takes her environmental zeal to dangerous extremes.

“I haven’t been running the air conditioner in my car which may be life-threatening,” she says with a smile, describing her energy-saving methods in her hybrid Honda Civic, that runs on gasoline and electricity and burns an impressive five litres of gas for every 100 kilometres.

Cutting, a former stay-at-home mom who calls herself a “recovering American,” has been involved in environmental issues since 1964 when she piled her three young children into a Volkswagen van for a tour of several national parks in the United States. This experience — coupled with the social upheaval of the 1960s — changed her worldview forever. “It didn’t radicalize me, it humanized me and made me feel for what was happening to other people around me.”

She became an effective activist in Washington State before moving north to Vancouver Island, and she says she now fights for communities like Vanderhoof whose natural industries are particularly affected by our continents top politicians — namely George W. Bush and Stephen Harper.

“When we signed the Kyoto Accord I thought everything was going to be alright, but we all know how that’s turned out,” she says, pointing to the Conservatives plan to scrap Canadian commitments to the international climate control treaty. “If the environment suffers that means the forest industry suffers, and the fishing industry and so on.”

Cutting points to science — mainly produced by known environmental groups — that predict environmental catastrophe in the coming years, including melting ice caps, flooding, and a mass loss of Canadian forests due to rising temperatures.

“I know it sounds like gloom and doom, but people aren’t going to do something unless they think they have to.”