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Catherine McKenna discusses climate change with retired astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield


HON. CATHERINE MCKENNA: Well, Chris, it’s really
amazing being with you today. As you know, as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change,
I think a lot about climate change and the impacts. and, you were up in space looking down at
the world, so tell me, you know, what you saw and what you think about climate change. CMDR. CHRIS HADFIELD (Ret’d Canadian Astronaut):
There’s some climate change that is natural. When a big volcano erupts, you can see the
particles settling through the atmosphere, almost like a layer cake. You can see the seasons change as the earth
goes around the sun of course; but there are some places on the earth that you can see
the human impact. The huge polluted areas over the largest cities:
Mexico City, and across China, and the L.A. – Los Angeles basin. Perhaps the most visible national-level climate
change that’s visible from space is the Aral Sea. The fourth biggest sea on Earth, and within
one generation – during the time that I flew in space, from my first flight to my
third flight — we dried up the fourth biggest sea on Earth. We turned it into a kind of a desert wasteland,
and because it used to feed the glaciers and the mountains downstream, all the glaciers
are now of course disappearing. In one human generation, we significantly
changed the climate at a national scale. And so it doesn’t take much of a thought
to realize that with 7.5 billion of us, we tend to affect the world on a global scale. But you have to see it, you have to understand
it, you have to measure it, and you have to care about it, and then you can start making
decisions to do something about it. And as one of the few people who’s seen
it directly, I think that’s a really important process to go through. HON. CATHERINE MCKENNA: Well, thank you Chris,
you’re really inspirational. We loved… I know everyone around the world was watching
you in space, I think we loved actually the fact you play guitar, too. That was pretty cool! But telling these stories is really important. You’re one of my heroes. CMDR. HADFIELD: Oh, thank you. HON. CATHERINE MCKENNA: I know many Canadians feel
that way, and I think the message is really: we have to own this. We’re part of the problem, but we’re also
part of the solution. CMDR. HADFIELD: Yeah, absolutely.

Stephen Childs

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