Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Current Affairs Quiz to Start Your Day

Just two simple questions this morning.

1.   Which continent is not essential for feeding mankind?

2.   Which continent is still not beset by the impacts of cyclical floods and droughts?

Bonus Question

3.    Name the continents that are now beset by cyclical floods and droughts?

Full points if you identified Antarctica as the only continent on earth not ravaged by cyclical floods and drought.   An extra 50-points if you got Asia, Europe, Africa, America North and South, and Australia on Question 3.

The point of the Quiz is to connect the dots.   Just two or three years ago these impacts were forecast to hit mankind in two, three or four decades hence.   These were dark events that our kids or grandkids might have to confront long after we were safely gone.  Well, the only thing that's "gone" is the breathing room we thought we had.   We, as a species, as a civilization, have been overtaken by events.

We were warned that, within just a generation, perhaps two, our oceans could be at the point of ecological collapse.  A report due to be released in just a few days chronicles how our oceans are already at the edge of a mass extinction.

"...we're seeing changes that are happening faster than we'd thought, or in ways that we didn't expect to see for hundreds of years."

Overtaken by events, again.  It's more than just making bad guesses.   When we get overtaken by these events it tends to come in the form of conditions that impact our societies.   Because we're overtaken by them, we're not adequately or even partially prepared for them.   They catch us napping, they take us unprepared.  Our indifference and neglect means they go up, needlessly, a notch or two or twenty in severity.  

Around the world we're dealing with "once in a century" events as though they still truly were once in a century rather than the new reality.   We will pay dearly for that indifference.   Yes, yes, yes - cognitive dissonance - I know.   All our lives we've been fed assumptions about the world we live in and we simply can't reconcile those beliefs with this new reality even though it is happening before our eyes.   It is undeniable, it is inescapable, it is tangible and palpable, it is visible unless you have your eyes squeezed tightly shut.   And, by turning our back on it, we're making it worse for ourselves.

But isn't this why we structure our societies around political leadership?  Okay, sure it is.   And shouldn't we expect our leaders to be on top of things this scary, things that could wreak havoc on our society, our civilization?   Oh, I suppose. 
And aren't our leaders alive to these challenges, especially the dangerous ones, and doing all they can to safeguard us?   Well, since you're pressing the issue, no.

Stephen Harper?  Oh please, he epitomizes a 20th century Petro-Pol.   All this stuff would destroy everything he believes in.   The funny thing is, it actually will.  Bob Rae?   Well he's got other things on his mind.  He's much too busy trying to resurrect a Liberal Party to notice that this situation is the very way to do it.  Well then what about our political WunderKind, Jack Layton? 
C'mon, really, are you serious?  Jack?  Hell, if he did, somebody might call him a "socialist."  Forget that.   Lizzy May?  Yeah, sure, but.

So to sum up.   We have a problem, call it a threat, okay call it an "existential threat" that is rapidly setting in on the land, across our atmosphere, throughout our oceans

and this threat is manifesting itself all around the world at once

and, bad as things are today, everyone who has analyzed this says it won't be getting any better tomorrow

and, here at home, it still isn't anywhere near the top of the agenda of our political leadership, any of them, save for one nice lady that nobody is listening to very much.

So why isn't this at the top of their agendas?  (okay, "agendae" - now are you happy?)   Well they can only speak for themselves but they won't but I will.  You see placing this at the top of the agenda invokes change, the scale of this change being dictated by the severity of the challenge, the threat.   That's a big, big change and, oh gosh, they thought they were going to be able to duck this one for twenty or thirty years.

In other words, they're not going to deal with this until you and I and all of us demand they act.   When it comes to leadership, they've given this one a pass.  So it's now up to you.  It's up to you to contact these people and demand action.  They can ignore me but they can't ignore all of you.   Contact the lot of them, Harper too.  That's your best shot.  Or you can sit back and wait until some cataclysmic culmination of events sends us all scurrying for whatever ugly options remain open to us by then.   Your choice.


Steve said...

It will all be solved as soon as Goldman Sachs creates a Hedge against
total sustainability failure.

Owen Gray said...

There was a time when people believed they had what it took to solve problems.

That faith has disappeared. Perhaps we're just plain lazy.