Otter Lake … our Lytton, BC?

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Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

What if we were not reading or listening to this summer’s news of heat domes, drought, out-of-control wildfires, or seniors dying out West? What if these were reports not from BC, California and Australia, but from Chapeau, Shawville and Luskville? 

Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

What if we were not reading or listening to this summer’s news of heat domes, drought, out-of-control wildfires, or seniors dying out West? What if these were reports not from BC, California and Australia, but from Chapeau, Shawville and Luskville? 
What might look this like: 45C in Fort Coulonge? A wildfire whipping through Otter Lake? Bans not of open fires but bans on going into the bush at all – no bush work, no logging – and no cottages? Highways 301 and 303 closed due to out-of-
control fires? Ottawa River reservoirs almost bare – and no boating at all in Norway Bay, Bryson or Portage? Fish dying in our lakes and rivers due to
the heat and low water?
Corn, barley and soybean fields brown and lifeless, no oats, no pasture at all – Clarendon farmers seeking hay for sale across Ontario and Quebec?
Dairy farmers selling, filing for bankruptcy? 
Our schools and day-cares shut down, not from COVID variants, but because of heat and poor air quality? Bare produce shelves in grocery stores, refrigeration units closed down, and electrical supply unreliable, day after day?
What if Pontiac was making the news, not reading about it?
These scenes might have been science fiction years ago; today they are possible, quite realistic. We no longer ask folks if they "believe in" climate disaster; we still plan winter trips away but they’re getting crowded, hot, and the act of travel
is polluting. None of these scenarios are unbelievable any more.
And so how are we responding? What are you doing, your household, workplace? How am I, and other retirees, contributing to ease the crisis? What
are our municipal councils, and higher authorities, doing in response (besides the promises)?
Today our lakes, streams, forests and big open fields disguise the fact that we easily could be there – just as were BC, California and Australia, with their oceans, water resources, mountains, forests. Quebec is responding and has a strong focus on reducing waste and pollution. Quebec wants us to reduce our footprints – reduce what we take from the environment and what we dump in its place.
Look at your family trash – is it adding to landfills and to consumerism which is eating the world’s environments?
Do we waste water, cut down trees which clean the atmosphere, do we assist the forces of destruction? Do you? Do you think about these questions every time you drive miles to shop in a big-box store? Every time you reach for a new
what-ever? Are our homes wasteful – insulation, windows – and our vehicles….  there’s no end to the list.
Our task is enormous, but there is a start to this list, and it begins with you and me, today, tomorrow, and next month. Can we really dismiss the picture which begins this editorial as a wild exaggeration?
For how long?