Posts Tagged ‘adaptation’

Sinking Politics

I’ve recently attended two events addressing sea level rise due to climate change, bringing together experts and municipal government representatives to discuss adaptation strategies.

Sea level rise is scary, no matter how you look at it. The most conservative estimates say 1.2 m in 100 years – others are much more draImagematic. In any case, it will translate into a lot of flooding, storms, and billions of dollars being poured into infrastructure. There are climate change adaptation teams on municipal councils.

So what’s baffling me is this – how is it that our local governments are acknowledging this and making moves to adapt to it, and yet our federal government is pouring money and energy into propping up, encouraging, and enabling the fossil fuel industry, making it ever easier for them by removing legal and administrative barriers.

It’s like one parent agreeing with the doctor that their child has severe obesity related illness, and the other parent actively encouraging the kid to consume cakes, soda and chips, telling the kid that it’s good for them.

The contradiction for me is frightening and maddening. Today, when an ad on the CBC came on for the Canadian Government Economic Action Plan (note: comments are disabled. I guess they don’t want anyone pointing out anything controversial). In the ad, they tell me how we are developing our natural resources in an environmentally sustainable way. The only word that pops into my head is propaganda. What else can it be, when the government tells us one thing, but we know that scientists are being muzzled, and broad sweeping changes are being made to regulations to reduce environmental protection. Our government is joining a very unpleasant list of governments that wants its citizens to believe one thing, when the reality is quite different.

I’m angry. I’m angry that my own government is selling out my future and that of future generations in the name of economic development. I’m angry that our electoral system ensures that my voice is not heard. All the money we’re making off the tarsands development better be going into a pretty good savings plan, because Hurricane Sandy will not be the last major disaster to hit the Western world. We’ve been watching it happen to poor nations for a long time, but now, we’re going to reap what we sowed.