“To protect our own wealth and well-being we are destroying the welfare of the world’s poorest people. When one group of people forcibly removes something from another group for their own benefit, it is called a crime. And climate change is the greatest crime that we have ever committed because, ultimately, the people we are stealing from are our own children and the world’s most vulnerable people.” ~George Marshal – Carbon Detox
Today, the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel released its recommendation to approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat: now it is a matter of time for the Federal government to approve this project. Early this week, Kinder Morgan submitted its application for the new Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby. Earlier this month, Canada submitted a claim on to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to get a hold of the Arctic…there are proposals to expand British Columbia’s coal export capacity to serve foreign markets and a push for building LNG facilities and dams…the greed for more is not just from corporations and governments: the greed is in all of us heating bigger houses and offices, buying more cars, taking exotic vacations and buying stuff.
While a bunch of us worry and fewer ones actually do something about it, the majority continues driving, spending, buying, throwing, wasting…
More than a year ago I threw myself into this fight: I was one of the +5,000 protesters in front of the BC legislature in Victoria against the tar sands exploitation, pipelines and tankers: It was October 22, 2012 (Defend Our Coast) . I thought that day my life was changing, but I was mistaken.
David Holmgren, co-originator of the Permaculture concept wrote a small book called “Future Scenarios”, a book I finished reading recently and recommend to everyone who really cares. As mentioned in this great blog post: “Crash on Demand: David Holmgren updates his Future Scenarios” (the original can be downloaded here), Holmgren accurately predicted what we are seen these days around energy and power: corporations ruling while democracy disappears behind money power and people’s idiocy. Regular people accept consumerism as a way to forget their responsibility for this shared world. God and compassion are just another “bullet” in busy people’s “to do list”: If you have donated to the last Typhoon, you are a “good” person and can relax in front of the TV. You can also trade your carbon emissions: there is probably somebody else offsetting your emissions somewhere in the other corner of the world…you feel good because you recycle, buy organic, volunteer and eat vegetarian. You are a good citizen, you have never hurt a fly…I used to think that way.
There is a scientist called Craig Simmons who is the technical director at UK sustainability consultancy Best Foot Forward, and he correlated official data from climate-related disasters with global CO2 emissions. He concluded that one person could die, starve, be made sick or left homeless for every 102 tonnes of CO2 added to the atmosphere. While these calculations are not exact and may include other factors, they are scary.
According to Alberta Energy : in 2010, total reported GHG emissions from 165 Alberta facilities across 15 industrial sectors equalled 122.5 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) (i.e. one megatonne is equal to one million tonnes)…if I’m not wrong in my math, that is ~9,803 people (starving, made sick, left homeless or dead), are we all mad?….each one of us in Canada are responsible for ~16 tonnes/year. This means we are responsible for the suffering (even death) of another human being every 6 years…and this calculation only takes into account human lives…not ecosystems, animals, plants (all needed for us to survive, beyond the fact that we have no right to destroy them either)
Holmgren says that there is only one way to stop this: by making “an intentional change toward being a responsible self-reliant producer for our household and community, and to shift a significant portion of assets out of the mainstream economy and move them into building household and community resilience”…
Just recently I mentioned to a friend what author George Marshall says in his “Carbon Detox” book about believing and knowing: many of us “know” our lifestyles are unsustainable, unfair, broken, and terribly unjust. But we just don’t “believe” it.
I wonder what is necessary for us to say “enough”. What is necessary for us to stop thinking on our small short-term “priorities” and “needs”, what is necessary for us to finally “believe”.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche