At Home: What does global warming really mean for Canada?
CTV weather anchor Dory Rossiter said on Wednesday that ?mother nature is smiling on us.? Her comment was in response to Lethbridge’s weather prediction for May 17, a remarkable 11 degrees Celsius higher than average for that day.
In light of global warming concerns, difficulties in curbing carbon emissions, and increased pressure from environmental groups, this comment comes across as entirely ignorant, especially for someone with a higher than average degree of climate training.
World Wildlife Fund Canada reports that melting ice caps, rising sea levels, disrupted ocean currents, more severe droughts, more frequent floods and hurricanes, and the wider spread of tropical diseases and food shortages are signs of global warming; all factors that have indeed been on the rise in Canada and worldwide according to scientific records.
Many people remain skeptical about the threat of global warming purely because its effects are often very difficult to identify; whether extreme weather disasters are related or not is difficult to prove or disprove. In the Prairie provinces, however, the fact that winters have been successively milder is something most people over the age of 20 have noticed. If you grew up in central or southern Alberta, you can probably think back to your childhood winters and remember huge walls of snow bordering the driveway, and massive drifts that could be turned into awesome ice forts with a day or two of intensive effort.
The last few years, however, these giant drifts of snow have shrunk down to no more than a couple of feet of snowfall at once?enough to warrant proper snow boots every once in a while but not enough to stop us from getting to work or to shut society down for a day or so. Scientists and regular citizens alike believe that this change is not imaginary, and that it is being caused by global warming.
The problem in proving this particular theory of global warming in Canada is the lack of hard evidence. Although hearsay may show an obvious decrease in snowfall, scientific records do not and it has been the recorded data that has stuck when it comes to global warming. Natural disasters have reportedly been on the rise in the last several decades, and Environment Canada says it is dedicated to improving its national weather networks and increasing communication with communities regarding oncoming weather disasters.
Sure, I’m going to love a nice hot May long weekend, but if proper weather records could be kept for future reference and scientific assessment, that would make me a little more able to enjoy freakishly good weather.
In Foreign News: World food shortages hit India hard; children at risk of starvation
The current trend of rising food prices has been affecting North America in terms of certain foods like rice and other grains; quotas have been placed on these items in some grocery stores, limiting the amount that can be sold to one person.
In large part, the global food shortage has been caused by the global warming concerns of Western governments, who have begun to rely on food-crop land to provide biofuel crops for clean-burning fuel. As this demand increases, both domestic and foreign food-crop land is being converted to biofuel cropland and agricultural concerns are falling to the back of governmental minds.
The global food shortage is hitting other regions of the world much harder than North America, especially India, where the country’s struggling economy is failing to meet the nutritional needs of its children.
India is currently home to the highest number of malnourished children in the world, and this number was calculated before the recent food shortage became an issue. UNICEF claims that nearly one half of all Indian children show signs of stunted growth due to malnutrition, a situation that is directly related to widespread low wages in the country. Many households are surviving on less than one dollar per day.
Social and economic examiners working in the country say the result of rising food prices due to worldwide shortages means that Indian families are changing the way they eat. Not only is the quantity of meals decreasing, but the foods that Indians are preparing and feeding their children is changing as well.
Since meat is such an expensive ingredient, non-vegetarian Indians are starting to opt out of buying significant sources of protein. Without replacing this protein intake with enough protein alternatives, it is feared that India’s number of malnourished children will skyrocket.
As well as changing their diets in response to high food prices, many Indian families have begun to pull their daughters out of school so that they might take up jobs and bring more income into the household.
Economists have suggested that the Indian government change its focus from technological advancements to agricultural investments. Currently, the national budget doles out only 2.2 per cent of investment money toward agriculture and much of the domestic rice crops are being sold to neighbouring Bangladesh.