3.17.2019

"if you don't act like adults, we will": thank you climate strikers. thank you, thank you, thank you.


Friday's global student protest brought me so much joy.

And also sadness, because I often feel so cynical about our ability to stop climate change.

And also hope, because I won't succumb to that cynicism. I will fight it, and fight it, and fight it. Because our cynicism is the perfect weapon to be used against us. No evil genius could invent something more powerful than our own inaction.

This photo gallery from the New York Daily News is wonderful. Very New York-centric, but with a global flavour.

4 comments:

The Mound of Sound said...

Laura, it dawns on me that in this year's elections we have a fairly stark choice. We either vote for those young people or we vote against them.

We have to face up to reality. We're a petro-state with a petro-economy and we practice petro-politics. It would be nice to transition away from that over 20 or 30 years. We don't have the luxury of time. Even the persistently optimistic Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, warns that the world has 12 years left to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent if we're to have a reasonable chance of averting climate catastrophe for those young people.

Canada, certainly on a per capita basis, is a major GHG emitter. We have no excuse for ducking the 50 per cent by 2030 warning.

Come October we'll be left with either a Trudeau Liberal or a Scheer Conservative government. Both are in the bag for the fossil fuel industry. The NDP are not nor will they be competitive and they've always been wobbly on climate change.

For those young people, here and around the world, this election matters because it could be our last meaningful chance to make a difference. Our best hope is to fight for a minority government with the Greens holding a balance of power, able to elevate climate change as the next government's singular priority.

There'll be no milk and honey future for our young even if we succeed. At this point let's just try not to make their future far worse than it need be.

laura k said...

Yes, very true. But I don't think climate change will ever be solved by the ballot box. No government in our present configuration will take on the energy industries, especially when at least half the population is still stuck in "jobs vs green" mode.

The Mound of Sound said...


What we can do at the ballot box, Laura, is to choose an alternative to the Conservatives and the Liberals, and deny them another 'false majority' based on 39 per cent of the vote. Climate change is not their priority. If anything they want to make this threat more intractable, especially for our grandkids.

We know what we must do and by when. A 50 per cent reduction in global emissions by 2030 or we're toast. Ignoring that is nihilistic and I can't tolerate that, can you?

I've never been as 'left' as you, Laura, yet I have been inspired, since an early age, by the two Roosevelts, Theodore and Franklin, who, despite their flaws were, each in their own era, very progressive. Both shifted their nation's political keel. I doubt that they would recognize their parties, Republican and Democrat, as they stand today.

When I left journalism to pursue a career in law (not my choice) I quickly found the stuff of taxes and contracts off-putting. Fortunately we had a visiting professor from Trinity College, Dublin, Liam McCaughey, who taught equity, the unwritten and ancient law founded on fairness. I became a disciple, an acolyte, immersing myself in centuries old case law. My most fulfilling moment came when I won a case before the BC Court of Appeal in which I managed to push a judicial "reset" button from an argument founded on jurisprudence from the Court of Exchequer delivered in the 15th and 16th century Britain.

To be so powerful, equity had to be tied to principles. Allan will tell you that in the US they're called the 'maxims of equity.' The point I'm making in this horribly roundabout way is that our response to climate change and ancillary threats must be a progressive initiative and that too is founded on defined principles that extend beyond social justice and deep into the realm of how government interacts with the people.

Today we consider 'progressive' an accolade exclusive to the left. It has lost so much meaning that many, especially Liberals, claim the laurel by virtue of being slightly left of the Conservatives, chasing a constantly moving target that, of necessity, must be liberated from principle. Yet there is really no inherent reason that progressivism ought to be partisan. The partisanship that besets it is of choice, not necessity. It is one of those lines that is drawn for no real purpose but to delineate camps.

You contend that climate change can't be solved at the ballot box. That's true enough but we're probably past the point of solutions. What we're fighting for at this point is equity. Equity between rich nations and poor. Generational equity between our over-indulged generation and those that must follow our own. There is much that we can no longer undo yet there is much that we can still make far worse for the world we bequeath to these younger generations and that much we can influence at the ballot box. To do anything less is to write off these younger generations and we cannot claim that right. It's not fair.

laura k said...

I agree with everything you say here.

And I MORE than agree, if such a thing is possible, that we must vote for an alternative to both Cons and Libs, which are slightly different cuts of the same cloth. And we must fix the election system to reflect votes -- fix democracy. Agree and agree.

Yet I despair. Alberta's government is a great example of why I despair.

[I also admire Roosevelt, the best POTUS in history, even while acknowledging his flaws -- and the true purpose of the New Deal, to save capitalism and kill socialist organizing. I hope you know it was Eleanor Roosevelt that showed FDR, from his very privileged background, the truth about the US. She was a brilliant radical.]