Now that New York City's been flooded with seawater, and even U.S. politicians are taking about climate change, are we ready for the next major realization: that battling this new enemy may entail some - gulp - sacrifices?
Perhaps Remembrance Day is the time to take stock of what sacrifice means in the 21st century. Is sacrifice only about war and soldiers? I used to look at it that way. And then my dad, Harold, a World War II veteran, taught me something.
As a boy, I was enthralled by his stories of treating wounded soldiers in Sicily and travelling across North Africa by troop train. I read obsessively about heroic pilots, marched miniature plastic Tommies and GIs over the living room carpet and played soldier in the woods. We even displayed our dads' and granddads' old military gear in the basement and charged friends a nickel each to see the precious relics.
But as a teenager, with televised carnage in Vietnam as a backdrop, I began to see uniforms as decidedly uncool and war itself as the enemy.
In the years since, my father has also come to believe that no war is worth the suffering it creates, but his impulse to serve in a just cause expressed itself in a way I never expected.
In retirement, Dad built a new cottage over a boathouse. One day, after we'd finished hammering roof shingles, he said there was no room for a septic tank, so he would put in a humus toilet. I was skeptical, but he was right. It changed the waste to odourless soil. This was the start of Dad's personal green revolution, with my mom, a passionate waste hater, engaged in the effort. But after he turned 90, my father did something truly extraordinary.
One day, visiting my parents, I saw a pair of water barrels beside the garden. Soon Dad was using stored rainwater on the lawn, too, having put together a unique system with a second-hand pump, retrofitted plastic barrels and pipes. Finally, with 10 50-gallon drums ringing the house, he stopped, having run out of room. With water the blue gold of this century, my 99-year-old dad is way ahead of the curve.
Now he and I have come full circle, world views in sync at last. We're both aware that currently the most important sacrifice isn't giving our lives for our country, but living our lives more sustainably, for the sake of future generations. That's one more thing to think about on Remembrance Day.