Anthropogenic or man-made global warming really gets to me but that in itself is just a bit curious.
I think the 21st is going to be a pretty tough and challenging century for all living things in our remarkably fragile biosphere, a.k.a. earth. We're already watching it arrive: droughts, floods, vicious storms, species migration, oceans heating and acidifying. Just imagine what our world is going to look like in 2050 when mankind's population is expected to peak at around 9-billion souls.
Did I say "our" world? Well, by 2050 it won't be my world because I won't be here then. I'll be with the choir invisible, pushing up daisies. And I won't be alone. Just about every one of the flakes who are dragging their heels on climate change or even working so hard to sabotage efforts to deal with it will be enjoying the eternal dirt nap with me. So why are we letting these useless geezers prescribe the fate to be endured by their successors, the younger generations?
The old farts see climate change as a threat, they really do. They see it as a threat to their pocketbooks. For younger generations it's an entirely different threat, a very real threat to their survival. That puts the elders and the juniors squarely at odds.
Since their interests are divergent, then somebody is going to call the shots and somebody isn't going to like it. So who should get to make the important decisions and the tough calls? Once again I have to give it to the younger generations. Why? Because my generation and the one before me were instrumental in creating this fiasco and we're also incapable of voluntarily making the sacrifices required to effectively sort out our mess. We have enjoyed the unparalleled prosperity that has come from our profligate, environmentally destructive ways. The younger generations, however, bear considerably less responsibility for creating this situation and I'll bet they'll be far more willing to embrace the changes necessary to deal with it.
If I was a 20-year old today (and, believe me, I'm glad I'm not) I would have a pretty direct interest in what my world was going to look like in 2060 or 2070. My world, i.e. after all the geezers have become a nice patch of lawn to be watered and mowed. 2050, 2060, those are realities for me. They're not for that stooge Harper or his water carrier, Ignatieff. They're not for the boys who stuff themselves with prime rib at Calgary's Petroleum Club. These guys don't give a shit about 2050 so why should they be calling the shots on what this place is going to look like by then?
It might be another story altogether if today's movers and shakers truly respected posterity. It might be different if they were genuinely responsible. But they don't and they're not. They show that every day in every way. In some respects they're like a powerful gang of social predators, the environmental equivalent of those Catholic priests we all get so worked up about.
So, how do we pull this off? We make a specific constitutional enactment giving jurisdiction over all environmental matters to a third chamber - an elected Commons in which citizens between the ages of 20 and 40 would be eligible to sit. They alone would be allowed to legislate on issues such as global warming, water policy, habitat and so on. Their legislation would then first be passed in their chamber and then on to the Commons where it could be vetoed and returned. If passed twice it would then go directly to the Senate for consideration and approval and then become the law of the land.
The fact is I don't trust my own generation with the responsibility for seeing Canada through the 21st century. We have forfeited the right to prescribe how the younger generations will have to live even three or four decades down the road. It didn't have to be that way, it shouldn't have been that way, but that's the way it is.