Sierra Club of Canada
Climate in Crisis Journey - 2006
Dorothy Cutting's Journey Through British Columbia and Yukon
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Grandmother drives for green cause

Terrence Standard, July 19, 2006

DOROTHY CUTTING is no ordinary grandmother. In fact, she is no ordinary citizen.

While most of us are aware of global warming and its possible effects on our future, we push it to the back of our minds.

Cutting, on the other hand, has decided to act on her worries and frustrations.

For the next few weeks, she will drive across the north “on a climate crisis journey” trying to raise awareness about global “heating.” (She thinks global warming is too soft a term.)

Informally representing the Sierra Club on her trip, she will speak to as many politicians and media as she can about the negative effects of global heating and what should be done about it.

“Since 1979, 20 per cent of the polar ice caps have melted away. Polar bears are drowning, starving and turning to cannibalism,” she said. “If people know what is happening, they’ll make the right decisions.”

Cutting, 75, passed through Terrace on her way to Prince Rupert July 6, just five days after she left her home on Salt Spring Island.

Her car was packed with various supplies including camping equipment and bug spray for the Dempster highway stretch of her journey.

The Dempster is one of the Yukon Territory’s highways that isn’t fully paved. It’s known for excessive mosquitos and frequent flat tires.

“I’m looking forward to it, then sometimes I get scared,” she said of her upcoming trip.

The environmental advocate feels similarly about her plight to make a difference.

“I’m frightened but I’m energized,” she said.

Cutting started to worry about the environment and the future in 2001 after reading Robert Hunter’s book 2030: Confronting Thermageddon in Our Lifetime.

Shocked and moved by what she read, she drove across the country to present every Member of Parliament with a copy of Hunter’s book.

Now, five years later, and the environmental crisis still looming and after reading a second book, The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, she is on a similar mission – to stop Canadians and more specifically its politicians from making choices and implementing policies that contribute to the greenhouse effect.

“We must all shout ‘No’ to what is happening to our planet,” she said. “The Kyoto agreement was an important first step but we have to go well beyond that.”

This time around, though, Cutting is driving a hybrid car, which uses significantly less gas than the average vehicle – only five litres of gas for every 100 kilometres.

She bought the car right off the showroom floor, she said.

“I didn’t test drive it or anything.”

For her journey, she has put a sticker on her bumper that reads “I’m driving my hybrid car to give my grandchildren a future.”

She has four grandchildren.

On her trip, Cutting has with her a laptop and printer and she will update her website regularly.