Two days ago, I was in a small boat, skimming over the waves, traveling south towards the Palencar Reef, one of the most beautiful and flourishing underwater environments in the Caribbean. It is thriving because it is strictly protected by the local Government. My dive master, Robert, makes his living from tourists visiting the reef so I ask him what he makes of global warming. He’s unconcerned. “Temperatures on the planet have been hotter and colder than they are now. No one can say why.”
I have to resist the urge to firmly point to the fact that 97% of climate scientists are warning us that we are headed towards perhaps irreversible climate changes but I am in a bathing suit. And he has probably not been reading Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything”. The introduction alone changed everything for me. But Robert’s response is proof that those forces that want, and profit from, obfuscating climate science have done an excellent job. Climate activists have to resort to shriller and shriller voices to be heard above the noise of the deniers who include my Prime Minister who says and does nothing. It would be so much more “convenient” if, as Robert opines, we weren’t responsible.
If there was nothing we could do. But that would be stupidity masquerading as ignorance. And it would also miss a “convenient” aspect of the problem which is one of Klein’s major points. The climate crisis is an opportunity to rebuild the public sector from the conservative led shrinkage of the last thirty years. We can solve the climate crisis quickly, and she points out where the money will come from, but she also encourages us to look at a wider picture while we’re at it. This includes legislation around campaign contributions (in Canada and the US) to stop what we can all see is legal bribery. That would restrict the power of the big: Big pharma, big agro, big gun, big prisons and of course big oil.
Klein is not naive. She sees the obstacles, as I have during my conversation with Robert, but I have seen impossible obstacles overcome in my lifetime: apartheid, the Berlin Wall, Northern Ireland, a black president, the NDP as the official opposition. The Palencar Reef is protected. We need to widen the net.
Have a great weekend,