24 October, 2018
It is only partially coincidental that in this past week we had municipal elections across the province and a climate change scientist just happened to speak at a public forum in Penticton.
There was nothing coincidental, however, in the message of climate disruption and its consequences for today’s electors and our lives.
The election set the local political and regulatory tone for British Columbia for the next four years; for the last half century, municipal governments and municipalities have been ground zero for what has become a free license to exploit public and private land for the deeply entrenched, highly environmentally destructive, free enterprise, growth-at-all-costs political and economic agenda.
The climate disruption crisis has been in the making for just as long even though the alarm bells began to clang loudly only in the 80’s. It would be helpful if British Columbians didn’t need to ask why the two events are deeply intertwined. If they take a hard look below the very thin veneer of election results, which in this case reflect only superficial changes in the face of municipal government, they will see a shocking, and to me, disturbing sameness.
At the climate forum I was disappointed at the sugar-coated version of reality that was presented. Instead of telling citizens the honest truth about the prospects of prevention and recovery from climate disruption and all its consequences, from drought and water shortage, to immense cost burdens for taxpayers, to susceptibility from disease, accelerated climate induced immigration, severe handicap in growing forests and food, as just a few examples, we were told the consequences will be even worse if we don’t act now.
Critical issues like overwhelming human population growth and consumption were downplayed. It was, to use a sports analogy, like urging us to imagine how much better off we’ll be if we lose by only 6 goals instead of 10!
Then we are hit with the election of, overwhelmingly, people that are disciples of facilitating and promoting consumption – more houses, more development, more roads, more people; dig deeper and faster, and that will get us out of any and all holes we dug our selves into!
Based on evidence, locally and world wide, considered “beyond a reasonable doubt”, the world as we have known it for most of our lives, is beginning to, and going to continue taking a serious and damaging hit.
We have been burdened by people, and institutions like civil service city managers and councils, that have proven to be long standing impediments to social, environmental and regulatory reform; sadly, they continue to think (do they even see it?) they can escape the crush of ecological, economic and social stress, in some cases chaos, affecting ever single community on the face of this earth.
If there has been and is a La La Land, it has its strong hold in municipal governments.
We are handicapped by evidence that, at this point in our history, we have not found a way to redirect social values for the sake of something as elusive as preservation of human society as we know it today.
This election cycle is only another nail in the coffin. In the face of a vast collective of scientists warning unanimously that drastic action is required – not tomorrow, but today – British Columbians elected a preponderance of incumbents, realtors and developers, most with a stake in keeping the existing “growth and development” barge chugging full steam ahead!
If actions are the best indicator, then obviously British Columbians are choosing to avoid reality, and certainly unwilling to take action. I hear councils across the province, if even they were to ask themselves the question, “What can we do, it’s just little old us”, here in Kelowna, or Penticton, or anywhere?
The answer is much simpler than, as the saying goes, rocket science; erect legislative barriers and implement immutable thresholds for regulatory and cost resistance to population growth, self serving promotion of human consumption, and expansion of ecological destruction of land.
Dare they ask citizens, in a referendum for example, how much “growth” taxpayers want to subsidize and suffer from?
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*Note: The Cartoonist screwed up. In a subconscious attempt to escape the world’s news, he changed one of our Backbone Member’s names from “Michael” to “Richard” Cohen. Sorry, Michael. We know you’re a way better guy than that infamous Michael Cohen and we beg your forgiveness.