Saving the earth


Saving the earth

It is supposed to be spring in Canada.

Well, that’s officially according to the calendar.

But if you live in Toronto, as you step outside your house early in the morning, you may think it is still winter, even as we get ready to welcome the month of May 2020.

While there may not be snow n the ground, wintry winds still prevail.

It’s climate change, some say, as if those two words explain everything.

Yesterday, as Canada, the countries of the  Caribbean and indeed more than a hundred more on our planet observed the 50th anniversary of earth day, we were reminded of the devastating effects of climate change.

For the first time this year, the message of Earth Day 2020 went digital with virtual happenings worldwide.

But were we paying attention to the calls to action to deal with problems such as greenhouse gases ? Or  are waiting on another global disaster of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic before we take the  necessary action?

In an interview earlier this month, Pope Francis  said he believed that the COVID-19 outbreak that has ravaged the globe could inspire change.

And he suggested that this is the time “to take the decisive step, to move from using and misusing nature to contemplating it.”

“This crisis is affecting us all, rich and poor alike, and putting a spotlight on hypocrisy,” he  remarked.

And Pope Francis  said that he is worried, as we should all be, by “the hypocrisy of certain political personalities who speak of facing up to the crisis, of the problem of hunger in the world, but who in the meantime manufacture weapons.”

We have every reason to be worried by such “political personalities ” and we could demonstrate our concerns  by the way we vote in elections. Vote them out.

We note, for example, that political parties that promise aggressive action to rein in greenhouse gases are often accused of threatening economic prosperity.

But let us not be fooled by those who put profits  before health care or taking care of the poor and the dispossessed.

What does it profit a man if he gains billions of dollars at the expense of global warming which results in rising sea levels?

At a recent conference on climate finance  in Ottawa, Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank , warned that climate crisis is “an existential threat to the  Caribbean.”

Antoine pointed out that some Caribbean islands would be under water, if financial resources were not rechanneled to provide more and new climate finance for the region.

Is anyone listening?

Developed countries including Canada and top polluters such as  China, the United States, India, Russia, and Japan would be wise to heed the warning. 

In Toronto, earlier this year, former United States President Barack Obama, speaking at a forum about the future of work, said governments, businesses and individuals are going to have to play their part in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,

Obama noted that millions of people in the Third World live without basics, so it would be unreasonable to expect them to reject coal-fired electricity that could transform their lives

What the West needs to do, he suggested, is to help the Third World “leapfrog our development models” and come up with systems where they can get electricity and produce enough food without destroying the planet.

“We have to figure out how do we give them the opportunity to enjoy a reasonable standard of living while still preserving the environment,”  he added.

Clearly, this is an enormous challenge but the developed countries, including Canada, will have to be prepared to deal with it.

If we can accept the extreme restriction imposed during the current pandemic, then we must be prepared  to accept the major economic changes that will be necessary to reduce global warming and save the planet.