What's it going to take for the Liberals and NDP to place the environment at the very top of their agenda?
I would have thought yesterday's seismic report that Earth has suffered the loss of half its wildlife over just the past 40-years might have done the trick. Apparently not. Damn few, it seems, really care about such things.
Ask yourself what this complacency means for the fate of the surviving half of our planet's wildlife. If we're so blasé to the body blow we've already dealt biodiversity it's hard to imagine we're going to take any drastic measures to defend what remains against what really threatens these lifeforms - our rapacious overconsumption.
It's one thing to observe that mankind is consuming the Earth's renewable resources at 1.5 times their replenishment rate. Bad humans, bad. That fact takes on a far more serious dimension when you realize that every other life form on the planet also depends on those same resources for its existence. If we take more than everything, what remains in store for everything else, the surviving fraction? Answer: oblivion, eventually.
Species extinction is occurring, by some reports, at up to a thousand times the natural rate. That would certainly seem to be in keeping with the loss of 50% of Earth's wildlife over the past four decades.
A number of scientists warn that we may have already triggered a mass extinction event, the sixth mass extinction in our planet's history. This time the great die-off is human driven.
It's quite a nest of vipers we've got here. Loss of wildlife; species migration and extinction; disease and pest migration; overconsumption and resource exhaustion (fisheries, farmland, forests, fresh water); droughts and flooding (especially the flash flooding so commonplace over the past few years); polar ice loss and sea level rise; global inequality and food insecurity; and, oh yeah, global warming and ocean acidification.
Really, what's it going to take for this to become the most important problem, the top of the agenda, for the Liberals and New Democrats? By act or omission, we're taking decisions today that will heavily impact the lives of our children and grandchildren and some of those decisions are irreversible. It's not unreasonable to expect our opposition leaders to make the environment their priority. Given the stakes to both us and to our descendants, that's their responsibility, their duty to the country and to us.