Climate Change ‘Scary’ To Former Environment Commissioner

Retired Environment Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller talks about climate change at the University of Windsor, June 22, 2016. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Ontario’s former environment commissioner says it’s “scary” to see historic temperature figures continue to climb while at the same time wondering if we’ve hit a tipping point.

Gord Miller questions if our climate problems have reached a point where it would be hard to stop.

In March 2016, the world’s average land and ocean temperature was the highest since 1880, coming in at 12.7 C (54.9 F), according to the National Centers for Environmental Information in the U.S.

(Courtesy National Centers for Environmental Information)

(Courtesy National Centers for Environmental Information)

This is slowly affecting access to water and energy, something Miller says is an area where the world needs to adapt.

“Where we get our energy and where we grow our food and where we our cities are viable will change in a changing climate,” he says. “Because the distribution of water changes with climate, we’re seeing that with flooding and droughts.”

Some predict Las Vegas will run out of water by 2036. Lake Mead, just outside the city, provides Las Vegas with 90% of its water. Since the Sin City’s population has grown from 400,000 to 2-million, that has contributed to the nearby lake dropping to less than half full.

Back at home in southern Ontario, agriculture is one area Miller says this region can improve upon.

“Creating healthy soils that contain high amounts of carbon and embed carbon dioxide to make the soils rich and productive is something we have to do,” he says.

“We’re not good at that in Ontario.”

Universities also play a role in climate change, but Miller believes they’ve “dropped the ball.”

“There isn’t the discussions on campus that I would like to see at this bigger level saying ‘whoa, we got to change the way we structure society, we got to change the way we run our energy,'” he says. “Those kinds of discussions seem to be absent.”

(Courtesy Environment and Climate Change Canada)

(Courtesy Environment and Climate Change Canada)

He is, however, encouraged that Ontario has developed a climate change plan and the feds are talking about one.

Miller says everyone can play a part by closely watching their carbon footprint.

Simple things like switching to LED lights, ensure electronics like TVs and chargers are not draining power when not in use and using a solar blanket to heat your pool are just some examples.

Switching to an electric or hybrid vehicle down the road and installing solar panels, if you can, will “make a real difference” too.