How bad will it have to get before the public demands real action on climate change? Real action. The sort that not only slashes greenhouse gas emissions to near zero but ends neoliberalism to make way for a new political-economic paradigm?
What will it take?
How many will have to lose their homes? The CBC reports that in some of the wetter parts of Canada, homeowners may be unable to get - not afford but get - flood insurance. How do you maintain a house that may need costly repairs every few years? How do you sell a house that is uninsurable? No insurance, no mortgage.
Governments, provincial and federal, have a fine history of coming to the rescue with disaster relief but that's always been premised on the "once in a hundred year" sort of disaster. Governments can cough up bucks if it's infrequent, a rarity. They can't bail people out, not if it involves a lot of claims for "once a decade" disasters.
One thing we know is that our governments won't act until the public forces their hand. Name Canada's great environmental prime ministers? Mulroney did champion the fight against acid rain but since then? Chretien failed to engage. Harper went out of his way to do nothing. Trudeau? Do you think Captain Pipeline a great environmental prime minister? Under Trudeau, Canada has steadily fallen further behind even meeting Harper's promise of a 30 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and the government takes no responsibility for the climate killing emissions that will result by flooding world markets with high-carbon, high-cost, low-value bitumen. And, no, I haven't forgotten the laughably minuscule Trudeau carbon tax.
We have to start seeing government as the problem, not the solution, to the existential threat of climate change. It is contributing to what threatens us, especially our youngest generation.
Last week, veteran environmental lawyer, Farhana Yamin, put it bluntly:
Normal politics has failed us. It has brought the whole planet to the brink of ecological disaster. ...We need everyone to undertake mass civil disobedience to create a new political reality the whole world over.Mass civil disobedience. A rejection of the authority of those who sit in Parliament to wreck our lives and eliminate our future. Make the country impossible to govern as they would govern us, as they have governed us. The power of the ballot box has been foreclosed. There's not enough time for that.
The window of opportunity is closing. Chretien wasted 10 years and 38 days. Harper squandered nine years and 271 days. Trudeau has wasted four years and is campaigning to waste another four. Enough.