Archive for December, 2012

Simple living creates space for all on planet to flourish

“If you are happy at the expense of another man’s happiness, you are forever bound.” The sayings of the Buddha

This has been a year of excess. 2012 has also been a time of revelation. The scientific community, world governments, conservation organizations as well as groups such as Oxfam are in Qatar these two weeks to visit once more the often contentious subject called climate change. This is the eighteenth summit sponsored by the U.N.. Each year there are many meetings that create the framework for the December summit. You may remember the great expectations surrounding the 2009 Copenhagen summit and the consequent betrayal many of the poorer nations experienced with the final declaration despatched to the world by a few wealthy countries. Subsequent gatherings of the parties have yielded a few crumbs to placate international communities. Notably the $100 billion Green Fund that was ‘engineered’ to give those countries a chance to adapt to worsening weather still has an empty bowl.

Regardless of one more pie-in-the-sky back room agreement to volunteer endless pledges at Doha’s COP18, 2012 is the year when a plethora of events came together to literally create the perfect storm that has sent climate deniers running for cover. It is not only the severe droughts and hurricanes that have contributed to the demise of any kind of legitimacy for these oil apologists. The vast majority of Canadians, Americans and Europeans no longer take notice of these unethical sceptics’ prance around the truth: climate change is affecting our daily weather and destroying our ability to feed billions of people within a few decades. Our cities’ infrastructure is now acknowledged to be incredibly fragile. Hurricane Sandy’s legacy of destruction is also a tipping point for the majority of citizens to act on behalf of climate justice advocates’ plea for action, although don’t expect any response from our government as their heads are stuck in the tar sands slush funds.

During the last month an astonishing array of scientific studies have been made accessible to the public. The World Bank’s report, entitled “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 degree Celsius world must be avoided” details the catastrophic repercussions of such an increase in temperature commencing from a pre-industrial base level. The World Bank’s political stance can hardly be called socialist, and for such a conservative pro-growth group to commission an in-depth report outlining the potential for a near collapse of civilization must be seen as the end of any attempt to continue the charade of the status quo. However, this month’s release by the United Nations Environmental Program’s scientific study on permafrost for policy makers is just as frightening to read: rising arctic temperatures has the capacity to release almost twice the greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere by activating the decay of organic material in permafrost. Since it is around 24 percent of the Northern Hemisphere’s land mass, permafrost is the sleeping giant of climate change.

Oxfam’s study, “Extreme weather, extreme prices” links weather to food price increases for this century. Lastly, a peer-reviewed assessment by NASA and the European Space Agency disclosed its findings this week showing definitive proof that our oceans are rising and will cause irreparable damage to such areas as Vancouver and Nova Scotia.

The Canadian Youth Climate Coalition is present at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit. Each day they give us an date of the happenings there. The urgency with which this engaged group informs youth is both timely as it is inspiring. It is also time for the rest of Canada’s population to act responsibly and drastically reduce our carbon footprint. By not going on a cruise or taking a plane for a week’s vacation to Cuba this winter you’ll begin to earn some credibility in the eyes and hearts of youth. Want to do more? Become a vegetarian or better, go vegan and drastically reduce your carbon footprint.