Jenny Howell with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society - Down to Earth

Jenny Howell with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society - Down to Earth

Down to Earth: Are we on the highway to hell?

Antonio Guterres, UN chief is definitely not mincing words anymore at COP 27.

By Jenny Howell

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society

“The world is on a highway to climate hell.”

Antonio Guterres, UN chief is definitely not mincing words anymore at COP 27 as he reiterates that we are fast approaching feedback loops and tipping points that are closing the window to prevent irreversible climate chaos. His speech also includes the foreboding sentence, “We can sign a climate solidarity pact or a collective suicide pact.”

Here’s an admission – I don’t rush to read stories on climate change and the environment when I read the news, even with my job hovering around this field. I will scan the headlines and then prefer to head to the lifestyle pages and read gentle articles on home decorating. I probably wouldn’t even be reading this article. That way it’s easier to pretend that things aren’t that bad, scientists are exaggerating, someone else will sort it out, it won’t affect us or our families.

However, we need people like Antonio Guterres to hit us on the head with reality. He’s right, it is that bad; if anything, scientists have been underestimating the pace of change; and yes, it will affect all of us; directly as our local climate becomes more unpredictable and dangerous and in the political and social upheavals as a billion people become climate refugees.

So how to leave the home decorating pages, pull our collective fingers from our ears and be brave enough to actually hear what he is saying? And then overcome the ‘what difference does it make what I do’ voice I suspect we all have?

I don’t have any easy answers because there aren’t any, but I do find it reassuring that the solutions to our energy demands already exist. For example, did you know that offshore windfarms can provide more electrical energy that the world needs? (

We also seem to have reached acceptance on a global level that climate breakdown will affect every aspect of human life and the environment and the economy are intertwined. As they say, admitting that you have a problem is half the battle. There are realistic solutions laid in front of us. So what’s left is the political will.

So yes, please keep reducing waste, saving water, and thinking of your carbon footprint as these small things do actually make a difference, influencing others around you to do the same with impressive cumulative impacts. (Water use in Williams Lake is now 31.6 per cent lower than in 2006, protecting our aquifer into the future).

Then, perhaps even more important, is to support the people that ‘get it.’ The ones that have spent less time on the lifestyle pages, have dug deep into the climate issue and have the skills and knowledge to push for the changes needed in the short time frame we have left. We can’t all be those people, but we can help them on their way by supporting them and voting for them so they can help secure a livable future by making the bigger systemic changes needed.

Waste Wise Tip: The average single family home wastes about $1,300 a year of food. Soak wilted vegetables like celery, lettuce, broccoli or carrots in a bowl of ice water for five to 10 minutes to reinvigorate them and reduce food waste.

For more information on Water Wise or Waste Wise and any of our school and community programs, contact the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society at or visit the website at

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CaribooChilcotinClimate changeWilliams Lake

Pop-up banner image