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?