Perspectives On Climate Change From Other Places

By Fred Larsen – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

With ravaging forest fires across Canada and other natural disasters here and across the globe, climate change is something Canadians are hearing a lot about these days. But are regular folks in other countries hearing and thinking about it in the same way? How are they feeling about the threat of a changing climate? Do they care?

Sustainable Orillia asked people in Denmark, Brazil, India and Canada they and people in their circles are thinking, feeling and doing about climate change in their corners of the world.

Each was asked:

1. Are people in your circle concerned about climate change?

2. How do you personally perceive climate change?

3. What’s happening in your community? (i.e. are there specific changes responding to climate change threats? Have you made any changes?)

Ellen Larsen lives in Esbjerg, a town on the west coast of the Jutland peninsula in southwestern Denmark. It is the fifth-largest city in Denmark, and home to 72,000 people. Until the harbour was developed in the 1860s, the area was sparsely inhabited with just a few farms. 

Ellen has four grown children and several grandchildren.

While Denmark’s total carbon footprint is relatively low compared to other EU countries, the results per household suggests that Danes, as individuals, may be consuming more carbon than they think. Denmark is the 15th country to observe Earth Overshoot Day (March 28, which means if everyone on Earth consumed natural resources at the rate Danes do, we’d use as much as the earth has ability to replace in one year by that date).

Global Measure Of Consumption vs. Replacement Gap

Like the others who responded to Sustainable Orillia’s questions, Ellen speaks only for herself. All respondents in our series are aware of the threat of climate change and they offer a variety of solutions.

Are people in your circle concerned about climate change?

Ellen: “Most people in my circle are quite worried about pollution and the climate situation. We often talk about it. My family in general are actually good at sorting waste. Here, where I live, we have quite a few standing containers so that we can sort our waste. The housing association collects our bulky waste twice a month. However, my own observations tell me that there is still a long way to go before everyone understands the seriousness of this.”

How do you perceive the threats of climate change?

Ellen: “I am afraid of the result in the future. The world leaders and people in general are taking too long to react – too long to do something. I think about it a lot.”

What changes have you made in your life in response to the threats of climate change?

Copenhagen Bicycle Park

Ellen: “Personally, I am very particular about all my waste being sorted down to the smallest detail. I’m glad I don’t have a car. I use our electric buses and the trains (also electric). I do walking and biking. Thinking about not using unnecessary electricity and water has really become a way of life for me.

I have eaten very little meat and dairy products for many years, primarily because it is not healthy, but now I also think that I contribute a little to a better climate by avoiding too much of these things.

I do laundry once or twice every two weeks. I have never had a tumble dryer. I hang my clothes out on a clothesline in the garden. I only buy clothes and such when necessary. I’m not an impulse buyer at all. I don’t own a motorized lawnmower either; I mow my small lawn by hand.

My garden grows a little wild. I also try to protect our insect population, which has declined unbelievably and alarmingly. I don’t kill any insects if I can avoid it. The decreasing population of insects has also meant that the population of birds has fallen drastically. We cannot live without our insects and birds.

I have come to think very differently in several areas and try to teach it to my grandchildren.

I feel good about doing these things and am really deeply concerned about our climate situation. I fear the future in that respect for my children and their families. What kind of world are we entering? It is unsafe and disturbing.

Probably there are more things I can do, but I don’t quite know right now what that would be apart from signing up for an organization like yours.”

(Images Supplied)


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