The Let's Get It Together Canada Rant (Canadians Among Worst Environmental Degraders In The World)
As every Canadian should already have heard by now, we are, per capita, the worst contributors to greenhouse gas pollution and, thus, global warming in the world. But this isn't the only thing that has distinguished us, or at least our government, as pathetic in recent times. No, when it comes to the environment, we're truly world leaders and, as of late, world famous for our resource-gobblin', nature-destroyin', bottom-trawlin' and overall-environment-thrashin' ways.
I mean, we, or I should say our government, just voted against a U.N. proposal to prohibit bottom trawling, a ban that even George W. Bush, of all people, supported. Report after report has documented the devastation being caused to the world's oceans by bottom trawling; and we now know that the practice, along with overfishing in general, could easily lead to the extinction of most of the world's fish stocks within the next 50 years or so. But do we care? Well, maybe a little, but not enough to do anything about it. We just couldn't have any bottom trawling Canadians losing their jobs now, could we? Meanwhile, we're not only failing to live up to our Kyoto commitments, our government has now totally given up on even trying, even though, and I repeat, we're the WORST per capita greenhouse polluters in the world! We are pathetic! Where is the uproar? The outrage? The disgust?
Furthermore, according to a new report recently released by the WWF (no, not the wrestlers, the World Wildlife Fund) Canada is in the top 5 worst countries in the world when it comes to using up the planet's natural resources. In fact, we're number four. Only the United Arab Emirates, the U.S.A. and Finland use more natural resources per capita than we do.
When it comes to dealing with any of these problems it always seems to be the same old story: No one dares do anything that might slow the economy in any way. But what the &%$# is up with that? That's what I want to know. This is such ridiculous short-term thinking. The clean-up is eventually going to cost way more than the preventative measures would cost right now. But politicians, and it would seem your average Canadian, would rather pass on the problem to their kids... or at least to themselves a few years down the road. The end of all the fisheries, for instance, is going to have a much higher cost than the relatively tiny cost of banning bottom trawling right now. Just look at the Atlantic cod industry after the fools - that is, our government - waited far too long to act. They didn't want to risk any jobs and now ALL those jobs have vanished. Morons! Yes, morons! And we're doing the same bloody thing right now. Not just with the fisheries, but with the whole environment. Whether it be land, air or sea, when it comes to taking care of the environment, we as a nation simply suck!
There are simple and 100% practical solutions that could help the situation dramatically, certainly much more than the do-nothing approach we're aggressively pursuing at the moment. Solutions such as this: The government could mandate that ALL new cars sold or imported into Canada as of, say, 2008 must be hybrids. Huge incentives could be offered for all furnaces to be converted to natural gas. Laws could be passed to make industry use the greenest technology available. And the oil sands, oh those &*%$ing oil sands, their development could be slowed right down - whatever the hit to the economy - and the companies developing them could thereafter be forced to only proceed with new projects once they've developed cleaner technologies to extract that oil from the sand and rock and tar and whatever else it's mixed in with up there.
None of this is all that hard to do; that is, if you value the future of the planet over massive economic growth. These are just some of the easy solutions, not radical at all. Some other changes might be a bit harder to implement and might cause a bit more sacrifice, but even these relatively modest proposals would, of course, seem radical to the fundamentalists of the Church of Never Ending Wealth Creation. But if some people don't like it, so what? Some people didn't like it when we passed laws saying you could no longer beat the crap out of your kids, or smoke in hospitals and schools, or carry around loaded handguns, or rape your wife, or keep slaves, or...
Some people are always going to fight when the government (and/or society) is doing the right thing. If we listened to the Everything's Ok Just The Way It Is Crowd we'd still be pumping raw sewage straight into the ocean... oops, the city of Victoria still does that today, doesn't it? Bad example, but you know what I mean. If we don't start acting, and right away, future generations are going to look back on us as not just stupid and selfish, but as a bunch of pathetic, uncaring, small-minded, short-term-thinking assholes. There's no excuse for our behavior as a nation. It's that simple.
We're destroying the planet and all for a bit more money. All for the creation of more and more wealth. Whatever the consequences. But, come on now, how much richer do we really need to be anyway???? This almost-religious belief in never-ending economic growth, no matter how unsustainable, is literally going to kill us. The hell with the future of the planet and the hell with future generations and, as always, the hell with everyone else on the planet, because, damnit, we DESERVE more and more stuff! Why? Well, because we're special and we had a hard week at work and...
Well, screw the stuff, I say. We don't need bigger, more luxurious, more convenient things every few months. Seriously, we don't. We don't need crap just because the ads on TV tell us we do. I mean, are we really that easily manipulated? And are we really that selfish, or I should say, self-absorbed? Me me me. It's time to grow up Canada. We can no longer act as if we're a nation of 2-year-olds who cannot comprehend the fact that our actions have repercussions. Our grandparents didn't need all this crap that is now considered "must have", our parents didn't have it (or not until they just picked it up last week) and 90% of the people in the world don't have it right now... and we don't need it either! Contrary to what this society seems to believe, happiness does NOT come from shopping and buying more and more stuff. Consumerism is simply not what it's cracked up to be.
And the sad thing is, considering how rich and lucky we are compared to most of the rest of the world, we're not even that generous. We're only 10th out of the world's richest 21 countries when it comes to giving foreign aid to poor countries. If the Norwegians, Swedes and Danes can be quite generous and compassionate, why the hell can't we? As a percentage of GNP, we give just one third of what they give in foreign aid each year. Amazingly, even in these years of massive surpluses, we give just 0.3% of our GNP in aid. It would seem that we have some sort of feeling of entitlement, a belief that we actually deserve all this wealth, even while the rest of the world struggles. Well we don't! We didn't earn this, we have a relatively tiny population and trillions of dollars worth of natural resources. That's how we got this rich. We're like the Saudis with their oil. If the people of Singapore or Liechtenstein or even Japan want to say they worked their asses off for their wealth, well, that'd be fair. But we have to realize how bloody lucky we are, and always have been, here in Canada. I repeat, we did not earn this. And don't even get me started on how we stole it all from the Natives in the first place and then just dumped them on reserves.
Finally, let me just say this: I've been to so many poor countries over the years where, speaking in general terms, the people simultaneously have a lot fewer material possessions AND a lot more joy for life than we do here in Canada. I'm not talking about those who are struggling to feed themselves while living in terrible poverty, obviously that's a whole other story, I'm talking about those who are doing ok, but who have a fraction of what we have. They certainly may want all the stuff we have here, there's no doubt about that, but they don't need it. And neither do we!
So much waste. So much overabundance. So little to give to the poor. So much to give to the destruction of the planet. Way to go Canada! You rock! I mean, you rock like Paul Anka rocks while singing "You're Having My Baby", like Celine Dion rocks while belting out "My Heart Will Go On", like Richard Marx rocks while crooning "Right Here Waiting", like Peter Cetera rocks while exclaiming "The Glory of Love" and, for that matter, like Pat Boone, Barry Manilow, Kenny G. and Jessica Simpson rock on everything they've ever done. In other words, you're making me sick. So, please, let's get it together... and quick! I don't appreciate being part of this disaster. It's embarrassing to be from a country that is one of the worst environmental criminals in the world. If we don't change, and soon, future generations are going to look back on us vis-a-vis the environment like we now look back on Portugal and slave trading, Alabama and civil rights, and Michael Bolton and haircuts. Think about it.
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006