Rainy Days and Mondays, a song popularized by the Carpenters, an American vocal and instrumental duo, sang of ‘feelin’ old, wanting to quit, and how there’s nothing to do but frown’.
When I was contemplating what to write about, my daughter, who is entering her fourth year at university, suggested I write about climate change. She confessed her suggestion was motivated by the current temperature and humidity of where she’s living.
And so, like any good student, I took to research the matter. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources provides information on Canada’s weather, climate and hazards.
What I learned is that the relation between humidity and temperature are inversely proportional. By example, if the temperature increases, it will lead to a decrease in relative humidity
My daughter currently lives in Ontario, where the relative humidity is 67. I live in Alberta, where the relative humidity is 54. Relative humidity measures the actual amount of moisture in the air as a percentage of the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold.
… “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”
The regions of Western Canada, in particular, are very vulnerable to climate change-related to extreme weather events (such as forest fires, snowstorms, hail, droughts, and floods) and can have devastating impacts on critical infrastructure.
But how does climate change affect us as individuals, and what can we do to combat it?
… “What I’ve got they used to call the blues.”
Climate change encompasses global warming but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet, including the social and environmental factors of health (such as clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food, and secure shelter).
And while we cannot stop global warming overnight, we can slow the rate and limit some of the worst effects of climate change.
You can respond to climate change in a variety of ways, including using your voice and adapting your choices.
1. Tell your Member of Parliament, provincial leaders, and municipal officials that you think action on climate change is important.
2. Reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Try to choose fresh, seasonal produce that is grown locally to help reduce the carbon emissions from transportation, preservation and prolonged refrigeration.
3. Support reputable carbon offsetting schemes that fund sustainable development projects or natural solutions like planting trees.
4. Enjoy the physical and mental health benefits (and the money saved) by walking or cycling instead of getting in the car or even using public transport. If driving is unavoidable, investigate trading in your car for an electric or hybrid model.
5. Make slight changes to your behaviour at home and use less energy. Simple things like putting on an extra layer of clothing and turning down the heat a degree or two, turning off lights and appliances when you don’t need them, or replacing light bulbs with LEDs are just some examples.
6. Create your own green space by adding potted plants to your window-sill or balcony, or help, by getting involved in protecting and conserving green spaces like local parks, ponds or community gardens.
7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Try to minimise waste.
… “What I feel has come and gone before. No need to talk it out. We know what it’s all about. Hangin’ around. Nothin’ to do but frown. Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”
And if none of these suggestions resonate with you, find out more in your own way. Do your own research, and have conversations with your friends and family about how to make positive changes to reduce your environmental impact.
Jacqueline Biollo is a government relations consultant and former politician. She earned an MBA in Executive Management with a focus on Economic Development from Royal Roads University in 2013. She is a Sessional Instructor in the Faculty of Management, Mihalcheon School of Management at Concordia University of Edmonton.
Photo by Ashlee Anna Photography