The No Brainer Rant (Avi Lewis' Show On The Environment)
I hope you all checked out Avi Lewis' show again last night ("The Big Picture with Avi Lewis: Part 3 - Can We Save Planet Earth?"). Debating how to deal with global warming may not have stirred up quite as passionate of a debate as the shows from the past two weeks on torture and religion did; but, really, it's the much bigger - and much more important - topic by far.
In case you missed it, this wasn't a debate between the 99% of scientists who believe global warming to be a fact and the industry-sponsored 1% who claim to not see any change or any threat. No, the show wisely declined to give yet another platform to those nutbars who say "Everything is fine, keep on pumpin' out those Hummers and SUVs" and instead focused on the debate of what must be done.
The debate on the show really involved two main points of view. There were those who seemed to think all that is needed is a tweak here and a small adjustment there, and then there were those who said drastic measures must be undertaken. The former group included the talking-point-gone-mad "There's no silver bullet. There's no silver bullet. There's no silver bullet" industry guy as well as, it seemed, the filmmaker David Attenborough, whose film we spent the first hour of the program watching. Attenborough states that climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world and that "We've reached a tipping point and we must act now to save our planet", but he then goes on to promote the idea that minor adjustments here and there are the solution. The latter group included Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada, who I thought was the most articulate person in the debate. And, I must note, the latter group includes me too.
To me, it really seems like a no-brainer. We simply have to drop this obsession - an obsession that is clearly the true religion of the modern world - I'm talking about the obsession and belief in never-ending economic growth. Ours is a consumer society gone mad. Shop, shop, shop for all the latest material things. Buy, buy buy until it's simply bye bye bye to the environment. Our planet can only take so much. This system is simply not sustainable. As one person so perfectly put it in the debate last night, "we have a crack cocaine addiction to consumer society" and it's going to eventually punish us all (or, at the very least, our grandkids).
The most shocking point made by at least two different people on the show is that, according to opinion polls, between 40 and 50% of Canadians either don't believe in global warming or don't see it as a threat. Wake up Canada!! How can half of us be so blindly ignorant?! I always thought we were a bit more informed than, say, Alabama... until now, that is.
Like Avi said, we send troops to Afghanistan when there's a crisis there, but we do nothing when we're faced with this much, much larger crisis. And the sad reality is that there are no worse culprits than ourselves.
Canadians are, per capita, the worst polluters in the world!! And the oil sands are just going to make that fact worse and worse.
As one person commented, no politician will realistically put a stop to the massive expansion that's going on in the oil sands right now. But why not? Because we need to get richer and richer and richer? Screw the planet and screw the future, is that it? As if we're not already rich enough. Where does it end? How much stuff do people need to buy anyway. It's ridiculous!!
If a Republican-led state like California can implement the strictest environmental controls in the world, then what the hell's wrong with us?
Come on Canada!! Get a life!! Or at least leave one for future generations.
Like I said above, it wasn't quite as lively a debate as the past two weeks and we weren't treated to too many laughs like the ones Avi's Funny Fundamentalists gave us last week, but there was one good laugh to be had by all. It came when one guy - the Conservative Party MP from Alberta, I believe - said that we've got to "stop being so pessimistic". That's right, don't worry, be happy... and screw our grandkids - let's just have fun and get richer and richer right now!! What are we supposed to be, a bunch of Paris Hiltons?!
People can live without their giant plasma high definition TVs and their massive V8-engine trucks and SUVs. No, really, they can. People have done it for all of human history and it really wasn't that horrible. Slavery, poverty, serfdom, pogroms, starvation, not to mention The Black Death, now those sucked; but living without giant plasma high definition TVs and massive V8-engine trucks, now that was not what made life hard in pre-21st-century times... or even right here in the 21st-century for 95% of humanity.
Radical steps must be taken. It really is a no-brainer.
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Thursday, September 28th, 2006