Thursday, July 14, 2022

It's About Climate Change

If you want to know what the future holds, consider two words -- climate change. Glen Pearson writes:

With all the unprecedented challenges facing today’s world, nothing compares to the ravages of climate change.  The argument as to whether the coming disaster is caused by human activity has now been eclipsed by the ongoing string of climate emergencies that plague every part of the globe.  Despite this, one of the world’s great governments could only muster a few dozen politicians for a climate briefing.

The melting of glaciers, droughts, floods, forest fires, rising ocean levels, dwindling freshwater supplies, the increasing extinction of species, the rapid loss of biodiversity – all these are happening at the same time and are more significant in impact than at any other period in our collective lifetime.  Somehow, trucker convoys, Donald Trump rampages, the costs of food and fuel, and the caricature nature of politics have become our fixation.

When our leaders talk about climate change, they make the right noises. But they don't make the right decisions:

Western leaders talk a good line regarding the planet but increasing numbers of less affluent nations don’t believe the words.  Democracy has become the world’s great stage, and political leaders are merely its players – not seasoned, educated visionaries of conviction and principle.  Today’s leaders have more in common with themselves than with the millions they are supposed to govern.  They embrace at global conferences, trade anecdotes, gossip about their peers, and ultimately make promises that somehow rarely come to fruition.

This is just how it is, despite all the promises that say otherwise.  Canada is faring better than most, and that says something to our credit about our politics and civil service.  Yet when it comes to climate change, we are the fifth worst polluter in the world, and the recently touted budgets of both provincial and federal governments are deemed insufficient to meet this country’s climate goals.

We are all to blame – governments, citizens, bureaucrats, businesses, special interests – and we seem unable to rise above our daily concerns to care for tomorrow’s outcomes.  Our future awaits us, and we are not reconciled to it.  Our politics is more manic than meaningful, and our citizenship more angry than aspirational.  Politics has become our primary source of entertainment, leaving us to become mere watchers and political junkies, easily overcome by the climate change forces already among us.

Is this how we will be remembered -- the generation who saw the problem and couldn't  -- or wouldn't -- do what had to be done?

Image: NASA


Anonymous said...

The battle against climate change, like the battle against Covid, is over. Climate change and Covid won. Our societies and governments are unable to focus on anything but the short-term financial interests of powerful business owners. Who knew we could ignore such crises without consequences?


Owen Gray said...

What a miserable failure, Cap.

Anonymous said...

A person I know, a Canadian, born, educated and lived their life in Sask and now Alberta, turns on the TV early in the morning to CNN. I finally asked, "anything happen in Canada today"? The answer came back, "Canadian news is so boring". There is nothing else to be said. The thing is, this kind of thinking is going to bite them. What is so amazing is, this person is a teacher. Most Canadians have not been taught how to look after the environment that
keeps them alive....nuff said. Anyong

Owen Gray said...

That's simply willful ignorance, Anyong.

Toby said...

Owen, I'm tired of being blamed for climate change and other mass ills. That society at large is responsible for our collective ills is a false narrative. I picked up a statistic the other day on a radio documentary: 97% of plastic waste comes from industrial sources. Even if the number is fudged, the unbalance is stunning. What can we do when the dice are loaded? Here we changed our light bulbs, downsized our houses and cars (one of which is 100% electric) , sorted our refuse, sent our plastics off to be recycled; all of it, apparently, for nought. The people elected always pronounce that they will protect the environment; don't blame voters for the political fraud. We have known for fifty years how to make an energy efficient house yet they are still being built with insufficient insulation. Etc. Etc. I can go on all day about the imbalance and political disappointments.

Owen Gray said...

You can't be blamed because you take climate change seriously, Toby. Unfortunately, there are millions of us who don't.

Toby said...

"Unfortunately, there are millions of us who don't."

Again, the game is rigged. Advertising works. Loud mouth talk radio works. Big money pushes the "American Dream" to an audience that is hungry for shiny new stuff. Big money reacts, often violently, to any and all opposition. It's growth, growth, growth and damn those who object.

Owen Gray said...

And, in the end, that quest for unrestrained growth will do us in, Toby.