By Gary Martin
Recently, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their fifth major report, an especially rigorous peer evaluation of hundreds of recent studies by earth science experts. The IPCC report states that 95 per cent of reputable scientists – in other words, the folks who are not aligned with oil companies – agree that we are seriously fouling our little planet.
Reaction from the Canadian government is comical. The Conservative’s spin-meisters have been stuck on the “jobs and economic growth” theme like a record album with a peanut butter fingerprint. And the promised jobs and growth seem to be tethered to dirty oil and pipelines, another monotonous and insulting mono-spin.
That’s one seriously goofy promise by my estimation because what I want, in fact, is clean air, water and food, funding for education and health care, and some assurance that the next generation will not be scoured from the planet by an environment that’s turning hostile to humans.
Permit me to draw an analogy. Let’s say nine-and-one-half doctors tell you to cut your fat intake if you want to live longer. One half of a doctor tells you, “Don’t worry, fat is ok.” You weigh their recommendations, then you put yourself on a strict poutine diet. This is what I think ‘my’ federal government is doing with the climate change file.
Like most people, I am far too busy struggling to pay bills to get too involved. But at some point, I have to take environmental issues personally, and this brings the discussion back home.
Here in the Outaouais, I am by no means immune from the impact of global changes in weather and flora and fauna. When bees start disappearing, it gives me the shivers because it may mean crop failures. And the bees are one of many worrisome changes to our environment.
I want to be wrong here, but I don’t hear anything from local politicians about cutting our carbon footprint or any myriad possibilities that go along with a warming planet.
I know exactly how I will vote in the next federal election – that’s easy because at that level it’s clear who can, and who cannot see beyond their poutine bellies. However, if my municipal councillors-to-be have no position on the environment, how do I vote?
To anyone campaigning for the coming municipal election: please educate yourself about how global environmental change will impact our region in the near future because (and again I hope I’m wrong) it looks a lot like changes are coming. Please don’t insult us with the same old same old.
Voters: please demand that your councillors have plans for reducing our carbon footprint and that they understand the potentials for, and costs of flooding, wind events, electrical grid failure, increases in snow, and so forth. Then vote – preferably for your environment.
As for me? As much as I crave poutine, in subsequent elections I am going to ignore that goofy half-a-doctor.
Ed. note: Gary Martin Ph.D. is a Masham tree-hugger.