• matttaylorblais

Why I'm Voting for Peter

Updated: Sep 18

On the last weekend of June, an astonishingly intense and record-breaking heat wave hit Western North America. Entire towns burned, and 800 people died in BC alone, as did over 1 billion other animals. Perhaps we were “lucky” to see such freakish temperatures in our lifetime, to experience heat in this region likely not seen in 10,000 years? But then it happened again, and again, albeit to a lesser degree. The idea of heat waves throughout what is usually a moderate summer is now commonplace. Heat waves that, without climate change, could not even exist.

To experience the effects of the climate crisis so directly, in the form of literal warming no less, was extremely sobering and disturbing. I’ve grown up with climate change, its doomsday promise hanging over, the need to make changes “soon” poking and prodding me at every turn; but these heat waves made clear for the first time for me that thus far, we have profoundly, and categorically, failed. Without an aggressive enough action plan by our governments, the stuff of movies could become reality. The fact that what we are doing now is the most we’ve ever done is meaningless, if it remains, objectively, far from the mark.

A major factor in these heat waves are the (polar) jet streams. Put simply, a strong and consistent polar jet stream is the result of warm tropical air meeting the cold air from the arctic. Earth’s jet streams are integral to our weather. As the arctic melts due to climate change, the cold/warm contrast diminishes. As Paul Beckwith explains, this diminishing contrast causes the stream to become slower, weaker and wavy, leading to a phenomenon called blocking. The area directly under the block is hot and dry, while in the troughs east and west of it we get rain, and these conditions can remain in place for long periods of time. Weak jet streams are causing more frequent blocking, which is consistent with the extreme weather we have been experiencing worldwide: devastating flash flooding in Germany and New York, intense cold in Texas, and our dreaded “heat domes” also happening in the Middle East.

There exists a critique that Canada is a bit-player when it comes to sustainability; that compared to the emissions of China, our efforts are purposeless. Without change in China, or the US, the change we make in Canada alone will never amount to enough. But the point of making change here and now, where we can, is not about single-handedly saving the world. It’s about being a model for it. Voting Green is a chance to prove to the world the gigantic changes needed can in fact be made, that this is a huge opportunity for economic growth (as Peter spoke to in the comments of previous post), that a truly sustainable future is real.

For me, the climate crisis takes precedence over everything else. There are, of course, many other issues; issues that will be rendered irrelevant in short order if the climate isn’t given priority. That’s what the Green Party does. Voting Green is now a scientific decision.

Lastly, I believe in Peter. This is, I think, something that has been somewhat forgotten in our politics. It’s no secret that when voting for your MP in a Federal election, you are voting for their party, their leader. But I am genuinely voting for Peter Dolling. Putting aside party affiliation and policy for a second, Peter the human is a brave and compassionate leader. He is the opposite of the contemporary stereotype of a politician. I am writing this to you, here and now, largely because it’s his name on the ballot. I am voting Green; but I am also voting for Peter Dolling.

I encourage the fact-checking of the sources I give. Please make me aware of any errors or inconsistencies. If you’d like to be pointed to specific scientific literature about anything I raise here, or have any questions at all, sound off in the comments. I’m happy to oblige.

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