It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going to hell– in short, the period was just like today. – Charles Dickens, 1859
These famous words written during the height of the horror of the British Industrial revolution were meant to describe the state of affairs during French revolution but clearly applied equally to his own time just as it applied to ours. Being a history nut has taught me one thing: misery is the norm and almost all of it is self-induced. Today, nearing the end of the federal election as a Green party candidate, the emotions expressed above capture my mood completely: there was a golden moment where maybe, just maybe, there was a chance to make the climate crisis THE issue in the election; however that was not to be. That moment has passed [I am writing this before the election results are in] and we are going to be stuck in “business as usual” – which simply means that more pain and suffering – mostly unnecessary – is heading our way in the near future.
However, in spite of this reality – the cup is ½ full – if you choose to see it that way! Why? Because when people have no choice but to act together, they can perform miracles. The question is thus not whether or not we will act, only how much of a nudge is required before we wake up out of our present unconscious state and finally do something. Now, by doing something, I do not just mean “our government” or “the Chinese & Americans” – I also mean YOU! Of course, our individual impact means statistically nothing – and yet Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Ghandi both changed the world. Our example is the virus that spreads to infect others with the disease of hope and action.
Today I would just like to list headlines with links of the various bits of “bad” news [the worst of times] that are the kick in the pants to get us moving and then the “good” news [the best of times] that those people who have decided to actually do something instead of wringing their hands and making pathetic excuses like: “well, anything I do won’t make enough of a difference to matter” – all I can say, in polite company, is fiddlesticks.
We are dependent on the natural world for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food we eat. But it’s even more that that: we are also dependent on it for our sanity and sense of proportion. Sir David Attenborough
The Worst of Times
One survey in the U.K. showed that half of children between the ages of seven and 11 worry about climate change. Other reports suggest kids are more worried about climate change than their own homework. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/hopeless-or-hopeful-how-eco-anxiety-affects-kids-and-youth-1.4608324?cache=yesclipId104062%3FclipId%3D89563%3FautoPlay%3Dtrue
Cleaning up more than 300,000 oil and gas wells in Alberta could total up to $70 billion. https://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/cost-estimates-to-clean-up-oil-and-gas-wells-lack-transparency-says-advocacy-group
Is Canada Broken? The country seems more polarized than ever. https://thewalrus.ca/democracy-is-canada-broken/
In the past 40 years the Earth has lost a third of its arable land to erosion and degradation.
We are unable to see that the climate conditions that allowed civilizations to flourish during the last 10,000 years will soon be replaced by a savage struggle to survive. https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-last-act-of-the-human-comedy/
Cognitive biases that ensured our initial survival now make it difficult to address long-term challenges that threaten our existence, like climate change. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190304-human-evolution-means-we-can-tackle-climate-change
The Best of Times
It will be less expensive to operate new solar and clean energy portfolios than 90% of the proposed combined-cycle natural gas power capacity slated to come online by 2035—some 68 gigawatts’. https://solarmagazine.com/natural-gas-power-stranded-asset-risk-reaches-a-tipping-point/
Argentina May Be the Hottest Renewable Energy Market
Climate change Offshore wind expands at record low price https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49769259
Power shift Renewable energy is cheaper than ever and investors are taking notice
So, read at least as much good news as bad news. Do something, anything! Most importantly demonstrate to your kids and grandchildren that it’s not hopeless and when you talk with them focus on the good news, while admitting that the bad too exists. Personally I choose to act. I choose to help heal those already damaged by despair. I hope you do too.