Thursday, May 02, 2019

What Yesterday Meant to Me

Since that first time I heard Greta Thunberg, I sensed that something wonderful might be about to happen.

Eventually she inspired a resistance. The school children's revolt and then Extinction Rebellion - children and adults saying there no longer could be, nor would be, tolerance of the status quo.

As altruistic Britons were refusing to move, they were arrested, charged and taken into custody - for what is genuinely trying, in a most modest way, to save humanity by changing minds.

And it worked.

With more than two-thirds of the population now realizing that the UK was in a climate change emergency, Jeremy Corbyn took that as his cue to table a motion calling on Parliament to declare a state of national climate emergency that easily passed in the House of Commons bolstering similar declarations from Wales and

As Westminster was declaring a national emergency, across the Atlantic, Canada's finance minister, Morneau, was beating his chest over fracked gas, LNG, as proof of Canada's ability to deliver on big carbon-energy projects. The prime minister, meanwhile, was begging Alberta premier, Jason Kenney, to save emissions caps by promising to just look the other way on bitumen extraction.

Brits take pride in their "stiff upper lip" image, the "Stay Calm and Carry On" national mantra. The people of the UK aren't afraid to look over their shoulder and spot what's coming and, when they did, they demanded action.  Canadians, apparently, aren't made of such stuff. All we have to hear are empty threats such as "this will hurt the economy" and we're in full rout. It seems we don't care if this cherished economy or that small fraction represented by fossil fuels has led us to a cliff edge. We're not stopping.

We don't care. Not enough of us anyway. Sure, we're worried about climate change but not enough to insist that real measures be taken to at least give us a chance at a soft crash landing. Ah, the kids'll figure out something. They'll have to with the future we're bequeathing to them.

Maybe we can still change but the clock is quickly running out and our governments aren't courageous enough to declare climate change a national emergency even though Canada is vulnerable. We have the longest coastline of any nation, from sea to sea to sea. Our vast forests are being ravaged by heat waves, unreliable snowcap and summer precipitation, mass infestation by pine beetles and other pests that are now moving steadily out of the West toward the Atlantic. The Arctic ice and snow that once kept our tundra and permafrost stable is disappearing, giving rise to the release of potentially massive quantities of methane and CO2. To the south, "once a century" floods are now becoming once every few years, our "new normal." Science now shows that the prairie petro-provinces are looking at a future as parched wasteland. Mega drought imperils our domestic food security. Our essential infrastructure is in decay and in no shape to withstand the severe climate that is even now setting in. Even our fisheries are being changed as native species migrate in search of colder waters. Wildfire smoke now perfumes the skies of the West, forcing ordinary Canadians to shelter indoors at what used to be the very best time to be outdoors.

But no, we don't have a climate change national emergency and, if we do, we're too cowardly to deal with it.  We won't change, not in time. When we go to the polls this October look for 70 per cent, perhaps more, of the vote to go for the very worst petro-state parties, the Liberals or the Conservatives.

Yesterday was a bittersweet moment, one eagerly awaited. I'm proud of the British people for forcing their politicians' hands. I wish we were made of that same stuff.


Lorne said...

As a people, Mound, we seem intent on keeping our head in the sand (both tar and non-tar) until it is too late, and there is no one in government forcing us to confront the harsh realities we now face. A piddly carbon tax is clearly not going to cut it, but it allows the Liberals to brag to the uniformed that they are serious about the problem.

Owen Gray said...

As Pogo declared long ago, "We have met the enemy and it is us."

Toby said...

It would be an easy sell to eliminate subsidies to oil and gas companies. It would be an easy sell to raise taxes to oil and gas companies. It would be an easy sell to make oil and gas companies clean up their messes. A carbon tax at the pumps may cost the Liberals the next election. Great thinking, Justin.

Clarke said...

It is a little problematic that the main opposition party and a good portion of Canada's premiers are either climate change deniers and are controlled by the CAPP. The window of permissible political thoughts in Canada does not encompass the idea that we should not be developing the oil sands or LNG, and we should be going whole hog into renewables. Nobody dares articulate this, except the Greens and they get characterized as a bunch of hippies.

Anonymous said...

I'm with ya, Mound. I was appalled at the tar sands out that Trudeau waved yesterday along with the CCPA floating a cap on gas prices. Gas should be expensive. I had to fill my vehicle last week for the first time in a while (I usually take the bus) and it hurt. That's a good thing.

the salamander said...

.. I'm still bleeding inside from your latest post.. it had to do with 'telling the truth' .. I was saying to the boss - at home yesterday - 'wouldn't you like to be the fly on the wall.. at the meeting between Justin Trudeau and Jason Kenney' .. (and their related caucus clingons)

Bottom line.. WE (the common citizens) are going to be fed to seperate official fictions or fabrications re what transpired, or who stormed out, or who was satisfied, or who 'won' ... or what th hell is to be done.

In other words.. WE will be served two variations of HORSESHIT SALAD.. via Kenney & Trudeau.. and most folks in Alberta and the rest of Canada.. will get the variations or screetchings of Mainstream Media.. in other words.. We the voters will get the entire spectrum of those two salads.. only after MainMedia has chewed it and regurgitated it.. That is the MENU folks.. like it or not.. and good luck finding the actual TRUTH.. from any source. It will be out there.. but truly hard to find amid the clutter and noise