A Solar Energy Leak Is Just Another Sunny Day

To say that I am not a morning person is the understatement of the decade.  Oh, the opportunities I have missed in favor of an extra half hour of sleep!  This very morn I woke up earlier than I wanted to (cursed alarm!) and stumbled about my house contemplating my dehydration headache and my wish to ball up in my comfy chair and watch some crap I had PVR’d.  In short, I wanted to do anything but leave my house for hours and walk in the ice and snow to participate in a climate change demonstration.  I thought of every excuse known to humankind for why I shouldn’t go.  Wait…is that the scratchy beginnings of a sore throat?  I do feel a bit snuffly.  Shouldn’t I be doing some work?  SO tired.  What’s the point, anyway?  As if anyone will care.  And then, painfully slowly, I thought about how in a way there are no second chances in life, and I thought of some words I had read not so long ago:

“I appeal to the whole world, I appeal to leaders from all over the world, to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people.

“I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”

Who remember these words, so eloquently spoken last year by Naderev “Yeb” Saño?  Saño, the lead negotiator for the Philippines at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, tearfully addressed delegates in an attempt to encourage decisive action to address climate change.  At that time, a typhoon had just ravaged his home country, killing more than 500 people.

Today, Saño’s plea resonates even more strongly.  Typhoon Haiyan, which leveled several islands in the Philippines on November 7th, caused anywhere from 2,000 to over 10,000 deaths and millions displaced (exact numbers still not known).  Images of crying children and people scrambling to put their houses back together have moved the world to swoop in with monetary and material aid (which is fantastic).  But has much of the world failed to see the big picture?  As recently as today I was reading articles online that say that Haiyan was not caused by climate change.

On a bright note, Saño’s words inspired me to haul my lazy ass out of the house on this snowy day,  and soon I stood with dozens of other sign-holding chanters in front of Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar MP Kelly Block’s office.  In its relatively short time in power, Block’s Conservative government has been responsible for (among other things) scrapping environmental consultation and protection protocols, withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, gagging scientists whose findings or research are not in Harper’s interests, and proposing the Canada/China FIPA, which – as per free trade agreements – allows corporations from other countries to sue if environmental restrictions are applied to them (as with the LonePine fracking suit in Quebec).

We had reached the end of the walking portion of the demonstration and I felt happy to be part of the community, but also, I felt angry.  Angry because the pursuit of money has since the beginning of memory trumped human rights and environmental justice.  Angry because nobody can even pretend anymore that our current course of action is sustainable.  Most of all, I was angry because this fight seems so unnecessary.  It should be a given that we as a species would protect the very earth that sustains us, that no human-created monetary system should have a value that surpasses that of clean water and breathable air.  To quote a ball-playing acquaintance who once appealed to an umpire after his team made a play to their detriment based on misunderstanding a rule, “Nobody would be stupid enough to do what we just did!”  Indeed.  Nobody would be stupid enough to pour chemicals into the earth, jeopardize the ocean with plastic and radioactive waste and toxify the air we breathe.

And yet…here we stood, shouting over those very things.  Our voices were strong but disappeared soon into the chilly November air.  By the day I feel a stronger sense of desperation.  This fight is not new to me, nor is it new to the world.  We have had enough time to prove over and over again that we, as a society, will not make the right choices and put sustainability before profit.  For this, my tears mingle across the ocean with those of Yeb Saño.

*I cannot take credit for this delightful title; it was on a poster at today’s demonstration.  The dude holding the poster said it wasn’t his saying but didn’t know whose it is.  Props and kudos to whoever thought it up!

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/06/166685145/in-doha-philippines-negotiator-delivers-emotional-plea-for-climate-change-action

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21589883-responding-disaster-essential-so-preparing-next-stress-test

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/7/if_not_now_then_when_filipino_negotiator

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-formally-abandons-kyoto-protocol-on-climate-change/article4180809/

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/10/03/quebec-fracking-ban-lawsuit_n_4038173.html

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