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Climate in Crisis Journey - 2006
Dorothy Cutting's Journey Through British Columbia and Yukon
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Cutting drives to prevent climate change

John King, Quesnel Cariboo Observer, July 16, 2006

All her life, Dorothy Cutting knew how to move, whether it was on the dance floor or in her Honda Civic hybrid.

She’s always lived in the fast lane – and the fast lane is just where she’s headed as she travels to Inuvik, NWT, to promote awareness around Earth’s climate crisis.

“After my first trip I was exhausted and I thought I’d never do it again,” Cutting said last week, recalling her trans-Canada trip from Victoria to Ottawa.

When she reached Ottawa she handed out copies of Robert Hunter’s 2030: Confronting Thermageddon in Our Lifetime – a treatise on the serious nature of the Earth’s health – to every member of Parliament.

Imagine Earth as a young infant outside in the sun.

As a parent, would you allow your child outside without sunscreen?

In simple layman’s terms, Hunter’s book talks about how the Earth’s sunscreen – its vital layers of ozone – are disappearing as a result of too much pollution and now the Earth is left like a toddler without sunscreen to bake in the searing heat.

This time Cutting is driving from her home on Salt Spring Island to Inuvik, a journey of roughly 4,200 kilometres.

Arriving in Quesnel last week two days after beginning her journey on Canada Day, Cutting looks forward to the Northern B.C. leg of her journey.

“When I came to realize that climate change is worsening, I decided to do the only thing I know how to do,” Cutting said.

“That’s get in a car and drive.”

Driving in her electric-gasoline hybrid, she consumes five litres of fuel for every 100 km she travels.

She hopes by driving her Honda hybrid, she'll help to set an example of how alternative solutions work.

When it comes to Cutting’s passage north, she will travel North along Highway 97 to Dawson Creek where she’ll then take the Alaska Highway through to Whitehorse and Dawson City, then finally take the Dempster Highway into Inuvik.

Cutting said she has “no fears,” even when it comes to the legendary and sometimes dreaded Dempster Highway – a long stretch of deserted road that connects Inuvik to the rest of civilization via Dawson City and Whitehorse.

Cutting said she fears estimates the polar ice caps will melt within 10 years – a fear spurring her to be part of slowing the momentum and eventually reverse the climate change train.

“Really bad things are going to happen, right now we have to buy more time,” Cutting said.

As carbon dioxide levels increase, plants will reach a saturation point, after which they stop absorbing the carbon dioxide.

“At this point the plants can no longer draw nitrogen from the soil,” Cutting said.

Nitrogen to a plant is like a T-bone steak is to a person.

Raising awareness by stopping and talking with everyday folk along the way, Cutting said she hopes to put the topic of global warming into laymans terms so it means something to the people she comes across.

“Scientists are so careful to hedge their bets when they talk about climate change and environmentalists say they don’t want to scare people,” Cutting said.

“I want to tell people the simple truth.”

It’s not always talked about, but Cutting hopes to stir the pot and get people talking about Earth’s current climate crisis.

“Once the summer ice melts the pockets of methane [scattered across the Northern tundra] will be released,”

Cutting said, explaining this will cause further damage to Earth’s ozone.

“Also, it is this summer ice that acts as a great mirror which reflects the light of the sun to keep the Earth cooler.”

Although Cutting travels alone, she will undoubtedly meet many people on her journey – many people eager to hear her words.