Sunday, July 16, 2017

But Are They Listening?

Unless we live in complete and willful ignorance, all of us are aware, on at least a minimal level, of the perils currently confronting and engulfing our world. Those perils, which some refer to as the sixth extinction, are real, and their magnitude is such that few seem willing or able to confront them in any meaningful way.

In response to yesterday's post about 'the new normal' in the age of Trump, The Mound of Sound wrote an assessment of our present situation and the steps necessary to mitigate the worst of what is overtaking our world. I am taking the liberty of reproducing those comments below:

I think the days of normal, as we experienced that in most of the post-war era, is over. We have embarked on a new era of instability and upheaval. Climate scientists now tell us that our only hope of surviving at least somewhat intact from what has already landed in our laps demands radical action. I'm so pleased, immensely pleased, that we're now hearing them incorporate all the threats. Not just climate change and greenhouse gas emissions but also overpopulation and our rapacious over-consumption of rapidly diminishing resources. Now, at last, they're speaking of the urgent and imperative need to abandon the neoliberal model of perpetual exponential growth, the orthodoxy that all Canadian political parties embrace.

Yet our government won't have this adult discussion with our people. It won't give us a candid assessment of what lies in store for Canada or how Canadians can best cope with it. Trudeau, and I fault him only because he's the sitting prime minister, believes that increasing economic activity is his foremost responsibility as leader. His arguments might have seemed plausible in the 80s but clinging to them now and into our near future could cause Canada irreparable harm.

The science types have written us a prescription and it entails sharp cuts in our standard of living, growing smaller. There is much in steady state economics that addresses how best to do this. The focus is on improving quality of life, enjoyment, while reducing consumption. Growth in knowledge, not consumption. Growth in the quality of what we need. Products that are repairable, upgradeable. I think of the last two stoves I had to send to the recycling yard, my use and enjoyment of them prematurely terminated as essential spare parts were nowhere to be found.

We, and by that I include the next generation and the one after that, must become our government's priority, not trade. Changing that core priority is going to demand big change and sacrifice from all of us whatever our station in life. You can't achieve that with a government that tolerates inequality. Fortunately we have a manual of principles that were established in the golden years of progressivism.

You can read more of The Mound's thoughts on this by clicking here.

No comments:

Post a Comment