Egan: Ottawa and climate anxiety ... Seasons change but the stress won't let up

By Kelly Egan, Ottawa Citizen, April 27, 2019

There was a gruff-sounding man on the radio this morning — built like a “linebacker,” he said — who broke down mid-interview from the stress of dealing with Ottawa River flooding, his home under siege for days now, his life upside down.

For three nights, he said, sleep couldn’t be found.

A couple of hours later, an exhausted city councillor choked up while speaking to a reporter, steps from where dozens of volunteers were filling sandbags in Constance Bay, grains of sand in a sack trying to hold back an advancing sea. Our smallness — really, it is to weep.

On Wednesday, Ottawa city council declared a “climate emergency” in general. On Thursday, Mayor Jim Watson sounded a louder trumpet about our particular state of inundation. On Friday, warnings of broad evacuations.

(...)The tornadoes that ripped through Dunrobin, meanwhile, were 217 days ago, the worst in a century. On a bitterly cold January afternoon, we had the calamity of the OC Transpo bus crash, probably ice-related.

“Climate anxiety” does not feel like an airy concept anymore. In Ottawa, in April 2019, it feels real, something that wakes you up in the morning, tucks you in at night, snaps you awake in the dark.

Connect with us