Our planet, our time

Last week, a cob of freshly picked Quebec sweet corn following a dip in a clear Laurentian lake told me that the golden days of summer had arrived for sure.

Last week, a cob of freshly picked Quebec sweet corn following a dip in a clear Laurentian lake told me that the golden days of summer had arrived for sure. The two-week Quebec construction holiday, when most major job sites shut down, also signals the height of the summer season. The lakes and tourist attractions now are at their busiest, even with the cool, cloudy conditions lately.

The arrival of the first truckload of Taber corn in Whitehorse after the long drive up the Alaska Highway from Alberta comes as close as we can get in the Yukon to that longed for taste of summer. We have our own treats, though, like our berries. Other signs of a northern summer at its best, like a stroll through the Thursday Fireweed Community Market in Shipyards Park, should not be missed. Everyone knows these summer days are few and fleeting.

Just how fleeting are they? The answer to that question depends on who you listen to. If you had read Al Gore’s recent work, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, you might be putting on a flak jacket, looking over your shoulder right now and be preparing to hunker down for a very long winter of rising discontent and instability. A co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Gore addresses a series of factors that he believes are radically reshaping our world, whether we like it or not.

In chapters such as “Earth Inc.” Gore details his take on the current crisis of capitalism. Grossly misaligned goals mark an unregulated global economic system which has co-opted any semblance of government control to its own ends. This has sparked sharply growing inequality and a disconnect between technological change and job generation, rupturing the social contract long a hallmark of the Western political system.

Another key variable for Gore is the emergence of the “Global Mind” through the communication revolution. We can now hear and understand each other in previously unimaginable ways. He describes a world system breaking free from an old pattern in place since the foundation of the nation-state in the mid-17th century. While the Global Mind offers hope for developing the planetary will to confront current challenges now beyond the capacity of individual or even small groups of nations to resolve, the international structures needed to do so remain far from realization.

Al Gore, a name synonymous with global warming and climate change, obviously includes an analysis of the complex environmental crisis before us. Deforestation, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and population stress are among the factors he considers. With the dominant influence of the corporate Earth Inc. over government policy, will the Global Mind be able to find a way to rein in the destructive course of profit-before-people-or-the-environment we are on in time?

Gore leaves us a choice of paths. “Human civilization has reached a fork in the road we have long travelled. One of two paths must be chosen. Both lead us into the unknown. But one leads toward the destruction of the climate balance on which we depend, the depletion of irreplaceable resources that sustain us, the degradation of uniquely human values, and the possibility that civilization as we know it would come to an end. The other leads to the future.”

Clearly Gore and many other scientists and thinkers like him believe that the illusory Golden Age of the last three centuries is coming to an end. Will our children’s children know summers like this one? It is our planet and our time now to decide what direction to go. Possibly the talk by Robert Kennedy Jr. at the Yukon Arts Centre on Monday, August 5 at 8 p.m. will offer some more thoughts on possible ways forward.

Michael Dougherty is co-chair of the social justice committee of Sacred Heart Cathedral of Whitehorse.

Contact pazypan@yukon.net.

Namaste notes

Saturday, August 3 – Lailat ul-Qadr or the Islamic Night of Destiny marks the first revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Mohammed.

Sunday, August 4 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. A suggested reading is Luke 12: 13-21.

Sunday, August 4 – Anita Garibaldi, heroine in 19th century liberation struggles in Brazil, Uruguay and Italy dies in 1849 uprising against the Papal States.

Tuesday, August 6 – The atomic bomb is dropped on the primarily civilian target of Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.

Thursday, August 8 – Eid ul Fitr (‘Id al-Fitr) begins the Islamic festival of thanksgiving to Allah for the experience of the month of Ramadan.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading