Over the past 50+ years, I have spent much time in the outdoors – summer and winter. I have observed many of the local effects of climate disruption in this time. I do have some understanding of how tightly inter-connected are all the natural systems of our planet, and how life as we know it depends on their finely tuned balance. For more than 40 years, I have been concerned about the damage we are doing to our life support system – the planet earth – and frankly amazed at the stupidity and cupidity of homo “sapiens”.
So far, the impact on our part of the world (southern Canada) has not been great. However, the rate of change is accelerating.
I understand very well that climate disruption is real; that we are causing it; and that it is proceeding at a constantly accelerating pace on a disastrous track. Please note that I say “I understand”, not “I believe” – this is not a matter of faith or belief – it is a matter of knowledge and understanding.
I followed closely the events of COP15 on the Internet – deeply ashamed of Canada’s role in those disastrous proceedings.
Since the founding of the IPCC in 1988, there has been an ever increasing effort, by an ever growing number of capable and qualified people, to understand in detail the workings of our planet’s biosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans. The details of their efforts may be highly technical, but understanding the results and implications of their work is within the capacity of any 5th grader.
Sadly, since the UNFCCC treaty produced in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, there has been no effective action taken by “world leaders” to address the problem recognized by all nations in 1988. This failure to act on the part of our “leaders”, in both the political and the business domains, for the past 18 years, up to and including the disaster at COP15 in Copenhagen last December, leaves us all in a state of planetary emergency.
In part, this failure to act is due to insufficient knowledge in the body politic. What is currently known as “civil society” – the people who live on this earth – you and I and our children – are neither sufficiently informed, nor sufficiently outraged to force governments and corporations to act. This is especially true of the wealthy and complacent societies of the “developed countries’, and most particularly of us in North America – Canada and the USA.
Had appropriate action been taken 20, or even 10, years ago, the present situation would be much less dire. Now, the time frame within which we must act drastically is measured not in centuries, not in generations, not in decades, but in years. This, if we are to have any hope of retaining some part of civilization as we know it for our children.
I have not been impressed with the Canadian media coverage of this whole subject – perhaps the media in Canada are too much under the influence of American news. Perhaps it is a question of the members of the 5th estate simply being inadequately informed, like the general populace. I find myself wondering if the media in Canada have been “advised” to downplay the whole situation.
I do not really think that our political “leaders” are really leaders any more in the true sense of the word. Rather, in this day and age, they are much more “followers” – followers of poll results, moving only in directions which will “lead” to their re-election, as calculated on the basis of the polls and the demands of vested interests.
This places a much greater responsibility on the members of the 5th estate than in the past. In North America at least, they are failing in their responsibility.
We have a son and a daughter, aged 23 and 19. In light of the current scientific understanding – which has greatly advanced in just the last 5 to 7 years – I fear that by the time our children are in their 40’s, or perhaps their 50’s, they may find it difficult to have enough to eat, and to keep warm in the winter. Certainly, the world they will be living in 20 or 30 years from now will be a very different place than the one we have known. You may think that statement extreme or ridiculous. If you do, then I suggest that you are not sufficiently informed – most people in North America are not sufficiently informed.
For this reason I am developing a (relatively) short course on Climate Disruption. The starting point is an online “video course”. Much of the material is very current, posted since 2007 or so.
This is a subject none of us really want to believe – but we must! We must understand it, absorb it, and act upon it – NOW!
Hudson, QC Canada