Andrew Nikiforuk loves his city and his province. Both, he writes, have had a "Manhattan moment:"
We thought we were big and powerful and beyond humbling just like New York. But as every true cowboy knows, Mother Nature invariably has the last word.
And so Calgarians are now living a chronicle foretold by climate scientists.
For years those scientists have warned about such disasters. But science doesn't cut much mustard with Alberta conservatives:
In 2005 the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative promised warming temperatures, melting glaciers, variable rainfall, changes in stream flows, accelerated evaporation and more extreme events.
In 2006 climate scientist Dave Sauchyn told a Banff audience that "droughts of longer duration and greater frequency, as well as unusual wet periods and flooding" would be the new forecast. Meanwhile researchers documented a 26-day shift in the onset of spring in Alberta over the past century.
Five years later the Bow River Council concluded that "Our rapidly growing population demands much of the land and water. Our climate is changing and the future of our water supplies is uncertain."
In 2010 the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, an agency that the Harper government killed last year because it didn't like its messages on climate change, reported that changing precipitation patterns were "the most common gradual, long-term risk from a changing climate identified by Canadian companies."
So one has to ask the question: Do they -- particularly that Toronto-born cowboy who heads our government -- finally get it?