Back in May of this year, the city of Courtenay declared a climate emergency, but what does that mean? Usually, it would mean taking drastic measures immediately or as soon as possible. According to NASA, the amount of light visible from space increases by 20% to 30%, and as much as 50% in the suburbs during the seven weeks around the Christmas holidays. Those are big numbers, which contribute significantly to the planet’s greenhouse gases.
Hydro Electric Dams and the production of Methane
The manufacturing of holiday lights also consumes large quantities of plastic and copper, which would be better left in the ground. Right now, one of the largest environmental fights in North America concerns whether to build the Pebble Mine in Alaska. Should the largest proven copper deposit on the continent stay underground or not? This unnecessary mine would be built at the headwaters of two of the main spawning rivers of Bristol Bay, one of the last intact ecosystems in the world. Sixty million sockeye show up there every year, and out of that, they take thirty million, half of what is available. These numbers I have quoted do not include the millions of fish from other species of salmon, including Coho, Pink, Chum, and Chinook, which also return to Bristol Bay. The mine would cause irreparable damage to this pristine ecosystem.
Holiday lights and fireworks are luxuries we can’t afford in an emergency and are easy to turn off today. The City of Courtenay and other local communities should ban holiday lights and fireworks in the entire Comox Valley district. If we are unable to give up the simple things for the future, how will we manage when we are forced into doing the very hard things to come?
2019 Student Climate Change Strike Comox Valley
The die-off of trees from climate change in Kootenay National Park 2018