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 Minds are like parachutes — they only function when open. T. Dewar Spring, wherefore art thou? According to the calendar spring is…

 Minds are like parachutes — they only function when open. T. Dewar

Spring, wherefore art thou?

According to the calendar spring is tomorrow; according to the snow in our yard, spring is … well, like yours, there’s enough to cover a tall horse, which matches our taxes, and our bet is spring and our  April 30th tax deadline will arrive together.

Ah, what a wonder it would be if taxation time was as capricious as the weather? At least then our taxes would have an element of surprise, even the whimsical, instead of many of us feeling we’re going to a “Gunfight at the Canada Revenue Corral.”

OK, I’m dreaming, and am about as lucid as Question Period in our legislative houses around the land. Are these question periods really demonstrating the art of democratic debate?

Debate is recognized as the keystone of democracy, though the importance of debate seems to have given way to the 60-second sound bite which creates the illusion all issues are cut and dried. Some observers suggest debate itself has faded from our public conscience.

I’ve discovered an interesting law. Maybe it’s still on the books. If it is, well?

“Any person acting in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which a lawful public meeting was called shall be guilty of an offense.” The Public Meeting Act of 1908.

Well?

You don’t tell deliberate lies, but sometimes you have to be creative. (Margaret Thatcher.)

Climate change, the voice of reason and democracy …

This capricious spring weather is our fault according to the 2,500 global-warming scientists, or is it 1,500, or is it … whatever they finally decide, there are more questions than answers with media coverage about as consistent and as brief as summer dust devils.

We’ve discovered the signators to the report which kicked this climate change debate into high gear weren’t all scientists and suddenly we’re confronted with the image of a bunch of Chicken Littles dashing madly about while we’re warned over and over, if we in the Global Village don’t get with it by year’s end the world, as we know it, will fade into it’s final sunset.

OK, that’s hyperbole.

The fact is we who’ve lived north of 60 for a few decades have been agreeing with the scientists for a long time already. Our 50-below parkas and mukluks have, for decades, hung in closets fighting moths, not the cold. 

 “Snow cover is expected to contract in northern zones,” were some words Yukoners looking out their windows today would surely appreciate. That’s one phrase in some scientific analysis in a short, 18-page scientific paper titled, Summary for Policymakers, laid before world media last week. It’s available on the ‘net.

The paper, from the W.M.O. and U.N.E.P. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, can be found on Google. It’s short, but like an ocean, deep. There’s enough material to keep scientifically-inclined people busy for a long time, and people less scientific, like me, puzzled and enthralled even longer.

Those decades back, when we put our 50-below parkas in the basement closet, Adlai Stevenson observed: “We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable resources of air and soil; all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved  from annihilation only by the care, the work, and I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.”

I submit his words as a possible premise for reasoned, ongoing, truly democratic debate for the next few decades. The scientific paper suggests it’ll take time, and I take it to mean we have time, although the world will be a’changing while our offspring talk the talk, while likely learning to walk a new walk.

A final question: Which do you think will be more difficult to achieve, to affect, and control global warming, or to get everyone, especially our political decision makers, in the Global Village working together to reach the objective?

Always disguise your embarrassment; try to look like an owl when you have behaved like an ass.

A tip of the hat to seasoned, reasoned democratic debate. May it prevail everywhere, and may the 60-second byte bite the dust.

And now, a word from anonymous: I wondered why somebody didn’t do something, then I realized I was somebody.

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