Friday, June 24, 2016

Our Unfathomable Equanimity

While the world convulses and gyrates over the results of the Brexit vote, I can't help but wonder why not even a scintilla of that passion can be brought to a much greater threat to our collective well-being: climate change. Star reader Judith Deutsch of Toronto ponders our unfathomable equanimity:

Re: Atmosphere hits grim milestone, June 14

Startling is the news and the lack of reaction about atmospheric CO2 concentration reaching 400 parts per million and the fact that “it will never fall below 400 ppm this year, nor the next, nor the next.” That means the inevitable commitment to an ice-free planet.

The climate record indicates that in the past sea level increased 3 to 5 metres in one century. It means that coastal cities and major agricultural areas will be inundated, much occurring this century.

There is oppressive and dangerous silence so that the public remains ignorant about the danger to human life. The human impacts are already daunting and profoundly unjust: 350 million people in India displaced by drought, 50 million people in Africa threatened by starvation this year because of drought.

There are other interacting factors, such as biofuels and speculation increasing the price of food, the World Bank subsidizing large dams that displace millions of farmers. Research and development of weapons receives 10 times the amount of subsidies as fighting climate change, with horrific new weapons threatening the world’s civilians, the real casualty of wars.

The proffered solutions are risible and serve more distraction, delay and deception: no timetables for emission reductions, no enforcement mechanisms, flawed market mechanisms that have proven to be grossly unjust and ineffectual in other regions, green subsidies only serving the affluent. There is studied avoidance of confronting the imperative to cut back: the biggest emitters are the military, the agro-industrial complex, international aviation and shipping.

The current political trajectory is beyond wonderland: at least Alice was able to observe the absurdity and wonder about it.


  1. A friend of mine reminded me of what Elie Weisel wrote a short time ago, Lorne. "The opposite of good is not evil. It is indifference."

    1. Thanks for that, Owen. Weisel's observation is more relevant today than it has ever been.