Our hearts go out to the people of Hay River and K’atlo’deeche First Nation, who, as of this writing still on evacuation order and likely wondering what, if anything, awaits them back at home.

This has not been a good decade for our fellow Northerners. Recall last year as flood waters soaked the region, forcing people out of their homes, disrupting barge services across the territory and costing up to $174 million in damages. Damage from this year’s fires could be as expensive or worse.

Two community destroying disasters in two years is terrible fate, but it could happen to anyone of us here in the North.

What happens if we ever have to evacuate the Beaufort Delta?

It’s not a matter of if but when. Cabin owners of the Delta have been dealing with flooding since time immemorial and ice jams are usually short lived. But a really dry fire season could be disastrous. Certainly people would have to be airlifted to either Yellowknife or Whitehorse. It’s doubtful the windy tundra along the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway would do much to stop a wildfire either.

Simply put, the costs would be enormous and, as it will be with Hay River and KFN, it would be a monumental effort to rebuild the region to where is stands today.

I always shake my head when I see people nickel-and-dime the costs of dealing with climate change, as if not dealing with climate change is any cheaper. Money that could have been spent electrifying our vehicles and greening our power grid decades ago will now be spent bailing out people by the millions as their homes burn or wash away. For decades a portion of western society has insisted that climate change was a hoax cooked up to funnel tax money to special interest groups. Even though this fantasy still exists among grown adults today, it is clearly wrong.

Almost daily I get emails from organizations insisting the carbon tax and pretty much any other climate-oriented piece of legislation or regulation is plain tyranny. Having been proven wrong that climate change is a hoax, then proven wrong that it was a natural occurrence, then proven wrong that it’s not Canada’s problem, now the “don’t make us change” crowd are the champions of the working class — at least until the next strike, anyway.

Here’s a reality check. If you think a tax designed by economists to help guide consumers to make the right decisions — and accepted by voters in two general elections — is tyranny, you’re going to be horrified by the next logical progressions if it doesn’t work as intended. Already Gen-Xers and Millennials have grown up watching supposedly responsible adults do nothing but argue as the world burns. Now Greta Thunberg’s generation is of voting age, and they’re rightfully pissed off at how selfishly we’ve handled this so far. The arguments “we needed to make money” and “it was just too expensive” are going to mean less and less to people as we get further away from the 1980s and more of us are forced to flee our homes in terror.

Until we draw a line, climate change going to get more expensive, as will the severity of the solutions. We’ve kicked this can down the road long enough.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

Leave a comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.