And do you happen to remember the annual Climate Change Performance Index results released in December by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe? "Canada fell to 58th place out of 61 countries analyzed for their policies and action on climate change this year, trailed only by Kazakhstan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia." It's embarrassing and unconscionable that a country of Canada's wealth and natural beauty should behave with such recklessness and disdain for the natural world, our home.
It's this disdain that so often in recent years leaves me feeling acutely embarrassed to be Canadian. I would like to apologize to the rest of the world for our brazen disregard for the environment, only apparently they don't care either.
That's right, nobody much cares. A global poll of nearly 23,000 people across 22 countries found that environmental concerns are at record lows. "Asked how serious they consider each of six environmental problems to be-air pollution, water pollution, species loss, automobile emissions, fresh water shortages, and climate change-fewer people now consider them "very serious" than at any time since tracking began twenty years ago. Climate change is the only exception, where concern was lower from 1998 to 2003 than it is now. Concern about air and water pollution, as well as biodiversity, is significantly below where it was even in the 1990s. Many of the sharpest falls have taken place in the past two years."
It's staggering. Wasn't this the year we saw Hurricane Sandy vomit the Atlantic Ocean up over New Jersey and New York? The summer of 2012/2013 was Australia's hottest on record, not in a nice let's drink our margaritas on the beach way but in a "catastrophic" fire threat one. Then there's Bangladesh. Experts predict that 250 million people worldwide will become climate refugees by 2050. Of those, 20 million to 30 million climate change refugees (likely the largest number from one place) are expected to be in Bangladesh, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Rising sea levels, a result of melting glaciers, could flood and/or erode 17 % of the country.
The human capacity for denial is seemingly infinite. Surely, at some point we must've been smarter than this? Otherwise how did we make it this far?
In the short term I guess as a Canadian I should be glad that generally people aren't as worried about climate change as they have been in the past, because it means this country can act like the asshole it apparently is without any worry about folks coming over to pelt us with rotten tomatoes and kick sand in our faces. As for our long term strategy, I can only conclude that Stephen Harper (our cyborg Prime Minister) is arranging safe passage to another solar system for all us Canadians. When the planet revolts against our abuse with a vehemence that makes daily living a struggle beyond our capabilities the Conservative Party's alien pals will whisk us away to a peaceful, unoccupied planet with an enviable bounty of natural resources. There, our descendants will be free to repeat our loveable old tradition of junking the planet with wild abandon. Hell, as long as Stephen Harper's at the helm, NHL is on the boob tube, there's Tim Hortons coffee readily available, and the bright promise of a new Target opening around the corner, millions of us Canucks may not even notice we've left earth.