Which way are you paddling?
I believe that most people are well intentioned and good hearted. We all want to be remembered for the positive impacts we have on our fellow humans the world around us and society at large; be it through family and neighbourly interactions or via participation in community, service and stewardship groups, faith-based organization or political engagement. We are all striving for a safe, sustainable, happy and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. Almost none of us want to do harm to our fellow beings or the world and ecosystems that support us. Without any doubt we should all be in the same canoe with the same destination in mind. So why are some still paddling backwards?
One would think that with the knowledge of the ages at our fingertips and with the aid of Google, we could search for and find all of the relevant facts about any subject. Of course, I know that in the age of Trumpism, “alternative facts” are easy to find, but if you go to renowned reputable sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica, National Geographic, NASA, Environment Canada you should be able to prove to yourself that in the case of climate change (and COVID-19) there is almost unanimous scientific consensus. In case that is not enough evidence to support the science, 2020 continues to be a record-breaking year for Atlantic storms while the arctic has been setting seasonal records for ice loss.
Armed with that knowledge and gazing out through irritated eyes at the persistent smoke from record setting wild fires only a few degrees of latitude to the south, we should be able to unite in our opinions on appropriate actions.
As individuals we can give up flying for pleasure, drive electric cars, ride bikes, take transit. We can plant trees, switch to heat pumps, install solar panels. We can shop local, reduce meat consumption, grow food. We can elect intelligent well-informed politicians, then support and empower them to act in our best interests and to do the things that we cannot. Public transit, bike paths, zoning, planning and leading us on a path to resilience, sustainability and climate change mitigation and adaptation are what we expect and what our children deserve.
This all seems so elementary and logical, so it came as quite a shock to watch the recent CVRD council meeting where two directors were willing to dismiss a petition for climate action by One Cowichan, signed by 1,800 Valley citizens and 55 groups, churches and businesses, and then to openly support a very few letter writing, climate change denying, conspiracy theorists who apparently wish to block meaningful action on climate change. You can watch it here on YouTube https://youtu.be/AMJrZEjTIvc starting at minute 11 for the letters and at minute 124 for the discussion.
To the scientifically informed and morally motivated directors: thank you, and when you do pull up the anchors, count on us like minded citizens to be the wind at your back. To those who question the cause of climate change and what we all as citizens and governments of planet Earth must do to protect our children’s future: please take the time to truly inform yourselves, and perhaps then you will turn 180 degrees in your seat and start to paddle in time with the rest of us.
In hope for all of our kids.