Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the <em>Williams Lake </em><em>Tribune</em>.

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Williams Lake Tribune.

Forest Ink: Learn from the past to make a better future

The latest column from Jim Hilton

There was an interesting discussion on CBC radio about a nurse who developed an approach to convince other health care workers about the benefits of getting a vaccination for COVID. First gather the facts, listen to the concerns of the participants, don’t shame them, be prepared to spend some time in open discussions and lead by example. This approach resulted in some coworkers getting vaccinated so I thought it may be a useful approach to prepare and deliver an elders course about climate change.

While I appreciated that I would be dealing with a class of the older generation they would also be interested in how to share the knowledge to younger generations that they come into contact with. During the gathering of information it became obvious that a topic as complicated as climate change would result in a variety of opinions and opposing views of interpreting the research material.

As usual in the writing of previous articles I used the internet, courses and books from the library and ideas from a number of people also interested in the topic. A list of some resources used are listed below. I started a few years ago with a video series by professor Richard Wolfson about his approach to understand the human impact on increasing global temperatures.

While he made a good case for the implication of carbon dioxide to global warming other eminent scientists are not as certain about the negative impacts of this gas since it is also critical for plant growth. There seems to be general acceptance that other gases like methane which are not important for plant growth may be implicated in rising temperatures especially since higher temperatures are leading to greater release of these gasses. Bill McKibben describes how our industrial approach to food production needs to change to one that is more durable, sturdy, stable, hardy and robust rather than the fast growth-oriented approach and high-energy-dependent approach of the past. The era of mega farms led to more people being in prison than worked on farms which has been reversing with more people going into smaller organic operations.

Our approach with industrial forestry has also led to loss of biodiversity and more people are starting to appreciate the recreation and health benefits of our natural landscapes. During a high school presentation author Richard Louv describes how the younger generations are starting to appreciate these other values as well as the importance of lumber and fibre products.

They were interested in the need for new energy sources, new types of agriculture, new urban designs and different schools, workplaces and health care. Whole new careers will emerge that have yet to be named. The school principal described how students were much more interested in Louv’s more positive future in contrast to the doom and gloom of the ongoing discussions of climate change.

For our province, this year will surely be remembered for the heat dome, third worst wildfire year followed by the floods. While most would like to forget this year, Jared Diamond makes the point that how societies choose to fail or succeed could depend on what they can apply from history.

Finally a book by Alan Weisman describes a world without humans and how some systems have the capacity to recover from abuse which could work in our favour if we make some changes today.

If we were able to establish a more equitable distribution of resources around the world it would enable a reduced human population.

For example if we could reduce the birth rate from 2.6 to 1.5 per family we could lower the world’s population to half of what is predicted by 2075.

Mr. Weisman describes the many improvements the world would benefit from with a more sustainable population.

References: Richard Wolfson , Earths Changing Climate, Learning About Climate Change by Lisa Jackson and Lauren Jerome. Collapse by Jared Diamond, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman , earth by Bill McKibben, The Nature Principle by Richard Louv and Value (s) by Mark Carney.


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