Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: How Will Our Grandchildren See Us? [article]

April 5, 2007

How Will Our Grandchildren See Us? [article]

I found the article below interesting because stories like these are becoming very frequent, regardless of whether the source is on the left or right of the political spectrum. The climate crisis issue is not a partisan one. The realities of the climate crisis are being realized by Canadians and people all over the world, and the effects are being seen right now, from the loss of habitat and traditional native lifestyle in Northern Canada to the Pine Beetle infestation made worse through warmer and shorter winters.

So what can we do?

While we can change our own lifestyles, I believe that our government needs the political will to make the changes that we Canadians collectively want. Shifting our industries away from an unsustainable resource based one to a sustainable renewable energy technologies one is something that will be good for our economy today and for the next seven generations. That's the time frame that Green Party policies operate under.

We can strengthen our economy by conserving our ecology.

See the GP2 document by clicking here (PDF file) for more info on where the Greens are coming from with regards to energy, the economy, and climate change.

Back to the article...

The US Counterpunch website posted this article by Scott Bontz on April 3rd, '07. Here are a few selected passages. For the full article click the link just below.

The Great Depletion
How Will Our Grandchildren See Us?

Thirty years ago, Alex Haley's "Roots" on television inspired millions to sleuth their blood ties to history. On this anniversary, let's imagine what our own descendants will make of us when they look back.

What they will see is that Earth's people more than tripled between 1950 and 2050. They'll see that halfway through this explosion, American material consumption had grown so voracious that four Earths would be needed for everyone on the planet to live the same way. And they'll see that billions tried.

They'll see that this combination exhausted and poisoned water supplies, exterminated hundreds of thousands of species, and plowed under forests and grasslands, eroding essentially irreplaceable soils.

They'll see that what fueled the "free market" was humanity's biggest free lunch: We exploited energy accumulated over millions of years -- coal, oil and natural gas. And we did it even though we knew we'd run out.

They'll see that burning these fossil fuels raised temperatures and sea levels to drive tens of millions from coastal cities and drown rich delta soils, turned rich midcontinent farmland into desert, and made storms in wetter regions destructively stronger and erratic.

They'll see that even during this delayed reaction to the Big Burn, fossil fuels petered out, and with them the irrigation and fertilizer that made it possible to feed so many extra billions.

And they'll see that before the resulting hardships, people in the richest countries got much fatter, yet no happier.

They -- the Children of the Great Depletion -- will see that we squandered Earth, their birthright, for the sake of the "good life."

Since the free market has failed us here, we need new rules of taxation, regulation and treaty. So:

-- Make the American way of life negotiable. Our fuel burning pumps into the atmosphere more global-warming carbon dioxide than any other nation, even though No. 2 China has more than four times as many people. We have to lead the way out.

-- Do this by taxing fossil fuels to slash release of greenhouse gases. Price these fuels at their true, long-term cost, including illness from pollution and food production lost to climate change. Invest the revenue in sustainable alternatives. Do it soon: Leading NASA climate scientist James Hansen reckons we have a decade at most to start reducing greenhouse gases before drastic climate change becomes inevitable.

-- And for policy and individual conduct in general, recognize that what we call economic growth, running now on so much principal from the natural world, cannot last. Instead of spending like there's no tomorrow, conserve -- make this the United States of Conservation -- and pass along a good life to our descendants.

What could make them prouder?

Scott Bontz wrote this for the Prairie Writers Circle, a project of the Land Institute, Salina, Kan. He edits institute publications.

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