Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Canadians don't want to go down with the ship

The forecast: Warmer, with a chance of survival
Debra Black, The Toronto Star: Tim Flannery believes the biggest challenge of the 21st century is to create sustainability for the human race. That's par for an environmentalist, and the consensus of a majority of scientists. But the quest is no small task given the resistance and denial in many circles, including among power players in the realms of politics and business...

'If we fail, all of our species' great triumphs, all of our efforts, will have been for naught,' he writes in his latest book Now or Never. 'And perhaps the last 4 billion years will have been for naught as well.'...

Is it as simple as people don't see it? I don't think it's as simple as that. The Europeans see it. They have fostered a whole lot of global energy technology. It's just that North Americans are much closer to a frontier society where business grabs whatever it wants without having to be accountable for the consequences. Canada, the United States and Australia are three great frontier societies. It's not an innately human thing. I think it's a cultural thing.

Would people got down with the ship rather than adopt change? I think if you were a person from a society that had done well from the 20th century then it's hard to let that go... For those people they would rather go down with the ship than adjust to the new world that is emerging.

What would you say to convince people who are naysayers? We're going to have to reach sustainability sooner or later, otherwise we won't have a civilization. This century we're facing some tough barriers. The climate crisis is the most severe. What it actually means in the end is we have to develop business and political models that don't take from society but add something to it.

The Toronto Star: A new poll suggested most Canadians don't agree with one of the Conservative government's key tenets on climate change. The federal Tories say they won't sign any deal in Copenhagen to replace the Kyoto Protocol unless developing countries also adopt tough targets. But 64 per cent of respondents to a Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey said rich nations have a responsibility to commit to higher and harder targets than developing countries. Most also want to see a binding agreement come out of Copenhagen, and 81 per cent said Canada should act independently of the United States... The Harris-Decima survey shows that 46 per cent of respondents would like to see Canada play a lead role in Copenhagen.
Image: An ark on Turkey's Mount Ararat built by Greenpeace in 2007 (Photo: Manuel Citak / Greenpeace); source here.