Climate Change ChitChat
Written By Stephen Eli Harris on Sunday, September 21, 2014 | 9/21/2014 12:49:00 pm
In 2006, I felt so strongly about ensuring our natural environment was remembered and protected as much as possible, that I ran as a Green Party of Canada candidate for the federal election in January of that year. Needless to say I didn't get elected, but I was one of 308 candidates, a full slate of environmentally conscious individuals standing up for what they believe in on a political stage. None of us were elected that year, but the leader of the party, Elizabeth May, did manage to win a seat in the following election, one in which I did not run as a candidate. In fact, I've since parted ways from that party totally due to some major differences in our outlooks and solutions...
But all that was just a primer really, as I attempt to sort out my thoughts on the topic at hand; Climate Change. I bring this up now because there is massive worldwide action taking place today, and I've not been able to stop thinking about the topic for days now. It really began when I went to watch a documentary/call to action a few days ago, called 'Disruption', which was followed by a general discussion between those who participated. I was left with many emotions, and the wild debate within flared ferociously again.
At this point, let me be clear: I have no doubt that climate change is happening. That's obvious. I just question, for the sake of thoroughness if nothing else, whether we're missing something. I've honestly not totally accepted the fact that it's human activity, carbon emissions precisely, and solely that, that is causing our climate to change. I am in no way saying that carbon emissions are wonderful, or that they should not be immediately reduced as much as possible; of course I want that. I just do not want it because I fear the earth is in implosion mode, about to wipe humanity off the face of it. In fact, the fear-mongering I hear from the climate change movement is a personal turn off. I realize that fear is motivator, but I despise it's use as a manipulative tool, whether it's for something as good as making our environment cleaner or not.
More-so however, I worry that if we put all our focus on one possibility, we may choose incorrectly and fail in preparing for all possibilities. What if it's the combination of the carbon, and say the increased solar activity we've seen over the 20th century? What if it's the pole shift that is happening, constantly, that's aiding in the ice cap shift - the melting of the Arctic, and the growing of the Antarctic - or simply causing climate change altogether? What if it's countless other possibilities from the realities yet known from the vast universe we exist within? What if it's something we've missed totally and we, as an entire planet, go down one solo path to some promised land of rainbows and butterflies, by only forcing a full stop to emitting massive amounts of carbon. What if...?
As I've debated this topic with myself for years now, one thing I've always done - like many things I debate within - is 'follow the money'. We've reached a point in the climate movement where real possibilities of change exist. There is no doubt many important, well-connected, people who are aware of this, and have been before the majority of the public were perhaps. I remember how the public reacted to me in 2006, just with minor discussions on environmental issues, but things are vastly different now, as more and more hop into the climate change chat - once called global warming, by the way. Regardless, those who know change is coming, have invested in that change, and anyone invested will surely push for that change to happen no matter what.
Here's where my main concern comes into play; incentive. Who has the most incentive to push the 'climate change agenda'?
At this point, the solutions I hear most revolve around government solutions: I hear much talk about nationalized energy resources; I constantly hear about full subsidization of green technology; and we know all about the carbon taxes proposed already. Basically, all I hear are demands for government to grow considerably as a means to take care of this potentially massive issue - whether we can fix it ourselves or not. So, I ask myself; who has incentive? People who want government to grow even more first and foremost, and people invested in green or clean technology second - I'm sure there are others. It will be very difficult, damn near impossible, to change these peoples minds, even when you find countering information to their claims. To me, it is these very people who would use manipulative tools like fear-mongering, in fact, as they have full incentive to push this agenda. And it is these people I cannot ignore as I debate this issue in my head.
At this point, you're probably asking what then is my solution. Well, it's a good question, and for me, it starts with the individual. Everyone's choices matter when we're dealing with the environment, from the products you choose, to the activities you do, to anything in between and beyond. Nearly 7 billion people making better choices would do a lot for this world.
For me personally, I've made the choice to:
- consume conservatively, and respectfully recycle.
- buy locally as much as possible.
- not have a car (until I buy an electric one).
- use my voice to denounce the oil wars. I speak out against all wars in fact, not only for the needless murder, but also for the massive amount of energy wasted, and environment destroyed.
- purchase and promote more environmentally friendly products, like green or clean technology. Also, though I do not support subsidization, I do support individuals choosing green technology. In fact, if it weren't for the massive subsidization of Big Oil, we would be in much better shape right now.
- promote alternate ways to protect the environment, via a different role of government, that being one which fully protects property rights, which would extend to air and water. This would give individuals, and groups of individuals, far more power to protect themselves from other people, industries, and even government harm, and also add more incentive for everyone to act better.
There is definitely much more I could be doing, and I'm sure there will be as life continues, but I feel that as an individual I'm doing something. I think that if we all made similar, or even better, choices, we'd be that much closer to protecting our planet. In the jungle, the strong survive. Economics is much the same. If we all made the right choices, the weak - old, tired, dirty, destructive companies, for example - will die. I understand we're a long way from inspiring that type of shift, and I in no way suggest the climate change movement stop what they are doing, but I feel the need to keep reminding my peers that forcing the world to change, and growing government even more, is not a requirement to saving the planet. Individuals choosing to change is.
Nobody has really said this better than Gandhi: 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'