Dr. Henk J.A. Berendsen. Website link: http://www.geo.uu.nl/fg/berendsen/photography/alaska

 

Emma Teitel from the Toronto Star outlined a phenomenon scientists have named “River Piracy”. A river changed direction due to the amount of melting water that accumulated from the Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon. Teitel believes that the magnitude of the occurrence and our responses to the event have been lost in the midst of popular culture news stories in social media.

See Teitel’s article here: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/04/21/why-we-tend-to-ignore-climate-change-teitel.html

Social media is a great outlet for receiving news events quickly, but with so many issues demanding our attention it becomes difficult to focus on only one. Reading about the Kaskawulsh Glacier becomes reading about a celebrity’s relationship status and before you know it, you’ve already taken five quizzes about what type of food item you are.

The news stories constantly demanding our attention RIGHT NOW cloud our ability to engage in issues impacting the future. Issues such as climate change. But we can’t create future solutions with our focus on what’s trending today.

Why should we take time out of our seemingly busy schedules to read about them and take action? They will happen, they are already happening. The melting of the Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon has already caused a directional change in water flow. Teitel suggests that our focus on the present is “an enemy of long-term critical thinking and long-term change”.

Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon

Ideas and actions don’t have to be on a large scale. Find a topic that interests you or is relevant to your community. Focus on one area that you could look into or get involved in, close to home.

I’ve already noticed some habits that I’ve changed. This morning while scrolling through my news feed, I looked for science related topics trending today. I only found two! If I want to make a change, I have to be the one to find more information about it and see if it’s something that I want pursue.

Have you ever looked at the nature or environment section in a bookstore? Titles such as our world, our planet, our environment, are common. It makes sense, it is our responsibility. 

We can’t move ahead with changes until we bring time and attention to the issues that need…wait, is that a dog riding a bicycle?

Jasman Sahota is a student at Laurentian University in the Science Communication post-graduate degree program. She is an intern at A\J and aspires to become a science journalist to combine her passion for writing with her educational background in science. 

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