Were it not for the lengthening stream of activists, it would be tempting to think that there really is no such thing as climate change.
In the 52 years I have been privileged to enjoy life on the little blue planet, one observation I can make is that “summer and winter, seedtime and harvest shall not fail.” Hope you don’t get me wrong because I’m a guy who thrills to a sunset over the lake as much as anyone.
Something about beauty really gets at me and to the extent I see it destroyed or damaged, I am angered. Right peeved off, even! It grates to see green forest clear-cut, mountains strip-mined, a river dammed. Because I feel this way, I personally work to avoid causing lasting environmental damage with my activities.
Doubtless, we humans have affected things more than we realize. Rivers of vehicles on roads and freeways all over the Earth, ships at sea, jets and satellite launches simply must and do have some sort of effect on the climate. But is a forced slowdown through political force the only answer?
Let’s say countries all over the world finally do agree to reduce carbon emissions by X tonnes per person per year. How do we implement this? Do I get 1,000 litres a year? 500? 100? Does my friend the trucker get a higher quota or do we all get the same? What will we use for TP then, foxes? Do we really want to further restrain those few among us who are actually still wantonly producing useful goods and services? Do we really want to build yet new layers of expensive, joy-killing bureaucracy to oversee our energy consumption? (“Sorry ma’am, you’re going to have to park your Jetta by the side of the road and find alternate transportation for yourself and the little tikes until the new year. Shall I have it towed for you?”)
Climate change aside, surely it is in all of our best interests to minimize our consumption of resources, if only for financial reasons. And to a great extent our own consumption is limited by our resources.
Apparently, it seems most of us don’t stop driving when we run out of gas, walking when we hit the wall, dancing when the music stops, you get the picture, as the figures on the average debt-loads of Canadian families clearly show.
Yet the actual consumption of goods and energy must inevitably be reduced when this point has been reached because of interest costing. In a sense, after surpassing the zero mark, every dollar we consume has less actual bang than the nonborrowed ones, therefore a less environmentally destructive force as well.
Possibly the largest consumers/polluters are the wealthiest among us too. (Exceptions, of course, abound. I just watched a news item about the Queen of England puttering about the palace turning off lights, lowering the thermostat and having her income frozen Ã God bless her!)
And yet those among us, blessed with fewer limited resources, might reasonably be expected to feel the heart-tug of the hydrocarbon tempter more urgently than the rest. The funding for that flight to the South Seas is there and it is so very cold and dreary out.
So what do we want our leaders to do for us now? Play Robin Hood and gad about in green tights taxing the “rich” and giving to the poor? Fleecing fat cats to create 100 lesser fat cats, all eager to spend their new-found winnings in some other, possibly yet more destructive, activity? Never as simple as it looks, is it?
Eventually, some of our problems must become less pronounced. As the price of oil increases due to scarcity or “corporate greed,” consumption must inevitably decrease. We have already seen hard evidence of this in the form of large reductions in the number of RVs travelling the Alaska Highway.
Fuel costs have pretty much tripled over the last 10 years for our American neighbours, especially when their deflated bucks are thrown into the equation. Yet will this forced reduction in fuel consumption come in time to halt nature’s plans for our imminent destruction?
One final point: I find it disappointing to see some of our leaders making light of the efforts of so many to improve the situation. Wrong or right, the climate folks believe in their hearts that what they are doing is a good thing, and there is something right and noble about that. Long hours volunteering, raising awareness and finances, working at reducing their own footprint on the Earth, often at great personal sacrifice. Isn’t all that worth at least a smidgen of respect?