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Global Warming Creating Hardship For Aboriginal Canadians, CAA Wants to Help

Why is it that seemingly indigenous peoples of every country continuously receive a raw deal? Now it’s aboriginal communities in Canada facing a new kind of hardship – global warming. CNN reports that rising temperatures are melting their solid blue winter ice pack, making it impossible for trucks that normally use a frozen network of rivers and lakes to to deliver bulk supplies like fuel and building materials.

“The ice doesn’t have its solid blue color anymore,” said Stan Beardy, the grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents Ontario’s remote First Nations. “It’s more like Styrofoam now, really brittle.”

“With the toxic waste moving north, and global warming, we don’t have that solid ice anymore, and that’s why we have problems with winter roads when it’s mild.”

About 20,000 people live in the remote reservations and rely on winter shipments of heating oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel to power generating stations. The fragile ice has forced them to hire more trucks to carry lighter loads.

Sea ice in other parts of northern Canada are breaking earlier in the season each year.

Canadians are not just standing by and watching their ice melt away, however. In fact, Canada’s largest club for vehicle drivers, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), is encouraging its members to start driving less. They are trying to do their part to fight global warming and improve air quality by promoting public transit, car-pooling, car-sharing, and pushing for higher fuel efficiency standards.

“We see climate change as being one of the major issues that is going to be confronting the country and the world over the next 15 to 20 years,” CAA president David Flewelling said in a Reuters report.

“We’re…seeing a shift in attitude on the part of Canadians and we want to help them in terms of ‘How do I do something that’s environmentally responsible?”’

It is very sad to hear that the lives of so many are really starting to become affected by global warming. The worst part is, it is only going to get exponentially worse over the next few years. Carbon dioxide emissions have rapidly increased – especially in emerging private vehicle markets like China and India. I think there are several quick and effective solutions to combat global warming without using a miracle technology, but they are not politically viable at this point. That is, until the major polluting countries can see the true detrimental effects our obsession with oil is causing in their own countries. Unless we environmentalists can put enough pressure on our governments and industries to make a change, it is not going to happen before very significant impacts to our environment, health, climate, and economy are realized.

The announcement by the CAA I think is a major one, if only because how powerful and terrible the American Automobile Association (AAA) is. Many people do not know this, but the AAA has some of the biggest lobbyists both at the national and state levels specifically lobbying against ANYTHING that could potentially take one more vehicle trip off of the road. This even means opposing things like bike trails, sidewalks, ADA standards, etcetera. I’ve even seen them lobby against lowering the speed limits in California’s school zones (it’s currently 25 miles per hour). For those of you that own AAA and want to switch, there is an environmentally conscious alternative – the Better World Club. Their site also has documentation of the evilness of AAA.

I do see a lot of other positives shifting the momentum of the fight against global warming in a positive direction. If I look back to just two years ago, we’ve made significant strides since then. One instance – the emergence of hybrid cars as a major player in the automobile industry. In reality, we’re just babies taking our first steps. We have a long way to go until we become an environmentally (and economically) sensitive society.

· Global warming isolates Canadians in far north [CNN]
· CAA Climate Change [Canadian Automobile Association]

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