HUG A TREE, HUG A POLAR BEAR
Thursday Oct. 20, 2016
Imagine, billions of years stewing deep under everything – captured there by ice ages, plate-shifting thrusts and overburden from times before and after ice-ages, when tropical forests were in arctic territory, dinosaurs named 10-W-30 buried and steeping like tea deep beneath. The cause? Climate change. Could anyone have held up their hand, held a protest or posted a website to stop any of it?
I’m not holding a ‘let’s all pollute and be reckless’ mindset. But let’s be realistic in what we can and cannot do. News of recent protests around the country have pitted many well-meaning groups opposite side of pipeline proposals. Should we, or shouldn’t we, ship our oil to tidewater through our own country or south through ‘their country’ as international treaties on trade should imply.
Part of North America, we Canadians are also citizens of the world. As Albertans, we ought not be landlocked in terms of marketing our products and resources, shipping them through our own country.
How many of us know the whole big picture, the complete picture? It is easy to mock Neil Young and James Cameron types for flying in on private jets to lecture us on keeping our oil in the ground – as if it should be kept there and we should downgrade our lives, our economy and go backward … easy targets – shameless self-promoters; we can argue that too. They are not much more realistic about environmental issues than climate-change deniers like Trump …
We have a planet punctuated – punctured too, providing storehouses of coal, oil and natural gas in its many forms – trapped after a gazillion years brewing beneath rock formations, just sitting there …
We humans are the endangered species – and we deserve to be there just like spotted owls and polar bears. You might suggest I’m crazy since there 7.5 billion of us, on track to double our numbers in the next generation …
We are two flu-pandemics away from extinction. We are one nuclear missile being fired away from destruction. We are a few terrorists’ acts away from masses of destruction. When I consider all of these things – all these risks to our existence, I’m far less concerned about which flawed person handcuffs themselves to an oval office for four years – or handcuffs themselves to a pipeline valve, or chains themselves to a tree.
Global warming/climate change will march along. If a few million years I’ll be proven right – and I’ll say, ‘told you so’. Until then, we can all do some things better. Some will make the planet better, and most will make us better. None of us alive today will see the future we strive to alter. In time we won’t alter much, but we’ll alter how we lived.
The world we leave our children and grandchildren – the society we leave future generations will live in a world that, like ours, feels like it is changing rapidly when it isn’t. We are changing rapidly, the ‘next new thing’ we tweet about or gadget we get isn’t change. The next microchip and piece of software that push artificial intelligence forward will be, at most, equivalent to a font change on your Kindle. Interesting, but not life altering.
Now, for something truly interesting – try chaining yourself to a polar bear …