Western University, Department of Communication & Public Affairs
Westminster Hall, Suite 360, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 3K7
Tel: 519-661-2045 • Fax: 519-661-3921
Stopping Your Own Global Warming
Bradley J. Dibble, MD’90, is concerned about the cardiovascular health of a very large patient: planet Earth.
Like many, the Barrie-area cardiologist, who lives and practises in Midhurst, took a deeper interest in global warming and environmental issues following the release of Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.
“I was very impressed with all of that. I was frustrated that governments and societies didn’t seem to be coming on board. I thought there has to be more to this story.”
Dibble undertook a massive self-education, reading as many books and articles as he could find on environmental issues affecting not only Canada but the entire planet.
What he found when he tried discussing the topic with others was that most people’s knowledge on the issue was limited to media sound bytes and many didn’t bother digging any deeper.
“What I found was there wasn’t really a good book that took people who were open-minded and wanted to know the facts and broaden their horizons on this so they could make their own informed, intelligent decisions.”
So, he solved the problem by writing the book he couldn’t find: Comprehending the Climate Crisis: Everything You Need to Know about Global Warming and How to Stop It (2011, iUniverse). The book is structured into three sections: the background science, the problem of global warming, and the solutions available to us all.
“I wanted to fill a niche that I thought was missing… I’ve always loved all sorts of science, so that’s why geology and evolutionary biology and astronomy and cosmology were interests of mine anyways.”
In August 2012, Dibble was selected, following an involved application process, to receive training from Gore, the former U.S. vice president and Nobel Laureate, as part of the Climate Reality Project. “He will be providing me with some valuable education and tools that will allow me to provide a version of his climate talk for Canadians,” reported Dibble on his blog.
“There will be more than 1,000 people from more than 20 countries attending this event. Canada will be represented by 115 individuals, and I’m thrilled to be one of them.”
Dibble’s new book, which is widely available through Chapters and Amazon, is gaining the attention and support of fellow physicians, including Western alumnus, Dr. Marc Lewin, MD’90.
“I’ve just finished this book and I’ve got to say that it’s incredible. It really ought to be required reading for all 9th graders in social studies classes,” Lewin says. “The way he explains the science... makes it real, understandable and personal.”
He also has the endorsement of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. “Dr. Dibble’s book is an excellent overview of climate change. He sets out practical solutions—like ending coal-fired power and ramping up solar and wind energy—that in relatively short order could bring great improvement,” says Gideon Forman, executive director.
Dibble encounters many people who say: “even if I believe in global warming and even if I believe it’s man-made, the market will sort it out.” He doesn’t buy that.
“I think the market in most part is driven by selfish motives, and not for ones that are going to have long term benefits. In fact, a lot of what society has to face is ‘do we do what’s right for today’s economy – or do we do what’s right for tomorrow’s environment?’ ”
As far as environmental concerns, nothing draws public and media attention like the Oil Sands of Alberta, both north and south of Canada’s border. Even with a contentious energy source like the Oil Sands, Dibble still likes to view all sides of the argument for the complete picture.
“You know it’s the dirtiest oil on the planet. It creates a lot of jobs in Canada. And we’re sitting on 13 per cent of the world’s source of bitumen (the heaviest, thickest form of petroleum). So, do we just deny that when the whole world wants it?”
He admits that although “it’s environmentally awful” what’s happening in Alberta, that it does help Canada’s economy. The Oil Sands continue to be developed but he asks: “Does every decision have to be made for today’s economy?”
The cardiologist thinks a major problem with our political system is that it is not designed for long term planning. “They think no more than four years because that’s the next election and they can’t do a decision that’s going to help 20 years from now because it usually won’t be so helpful in the next four years.”
So, if the federal government eventually introduces a tax (or a less controversial political term) on carbon, electricity and natural gas, heating is going to cost more and in turn encourage Canadians to move towards renewable energy, reasons Dibble. But then, it’s also going to create a lot of opposition and resistance.
“People start to look for cheaper alternatives and if they’re do-able and they’re cheaper, they’ll go to them. But people will hate that group (of politicians) and they’ll vote them out next time… We almost have to have a long-range committee for the planet.”
In the mantra of short-term pain for long-term gain, Dibble admits: “You’re going to have to expend the energy of today (to develop green energy). But then the energy of tomorrow will be green and we won’t have that problem ongoing but it’s going to be a problem in the short term.”
For more information: braddibble.com
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