Even in this year of apocalyptic weather, there are those who have suffered especially harsh punishment at the hands of a wrathful Earth. Take the village of Lytton, BC, which has had the brutally bad luck of having been battered not once but twice in the past six months.
Last summer, as a historic heatwave broiled the West Coast, Lytton was host to the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada: nearly 50 °C. The next day, it burned to the ground. Now, as record-breaking rainfall is washing away highways, forcing evacuations and cutting off heat and potable water across southern BC, Lytton is under water. (Is it too cruel to say they could have used it sooner?)
Between the fires and the floods, residents of once-temperate BC are getting a bitter taste of the near-Biblical conditions to come — conditions very much linked to climate change. Speaking of the Bible, Egypt was recently subject to a veritable plague of scorpions — yes, scorpions — after storm rains and flash flooding drove them from the desert into the city. It’s as if the gas-clogged sky itself were wreaking vengeance on our wayward species.
The story is much the same nearly everywhere, if not far more devastating in the Global South. While North America blazed, Brazil saw snow. (“I am 62 years old and had never seen the snow,” exclaimed one chilly truck driver.) Cyclones, hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts have struck not just Europe and the Americas but Asia and the South Pacific. Where the planet isn’t awash in floodwater, it’s cracked and parched. Where it isn’t fatally hot, it’s critically cold.
It’s fair to say that the Earth is going haywire. And we’re the ones who shorted the circuit. Is it too late to steer humanity towards a sane sustainable future?
Not if we, the Third Force, have anything to do with it . . .