Monday, April 16, 2007

Silver Fingers of Kim Chi in the Ecosystem

CD in Play: various, Studio One Ska

Give Yourself the Finger, Pal

If you ever wanted to give someone the finger, was it David Suzuki?

This was written in silver ink on a green garbage can lid on the corner of Homer and Robson. I was on my to Pete and Deanna Chattaway's place in downtown Vancouver and I came across the remnants of a demonstration at the Vancouver Art Gallery. From what I could gather, the demonstrators had been demanding immediate cuts to the carbon emissions and for Stephen Harper to seek out alternatives to fossil fuels. My guess is that Dr. Suzuki was one of the speakers at the demonstration.
What does it say about us as a species when we can so loath the people who want to help preserve us as a species? I know libertarians will rant alleging that Suzuki obfuscates the truth about climate change: that he's a neo-Luddite playing fast and loose with the facts. I saw Suzuki speak in August 1989 and he was talking about climate change. Suzuki had given us 10 years to turn things around before we caused large scale, irreparable damage.
He talked about the misunderstanding that people had about the "Greenhouse Effect". People had assumed it would just mean that temperatures would increase cloud cover, which would make the world warmer and more humid. From there we were told the Ice Caps would melt and the world would be a much smaller place. What Global Warming really means is that we will see much wilder shifts in our weather patterns. We will see an increase in drought conditions and we would see more severe flooding. These will have consequences in terms of land usage and food production. Sounding familiar? Sounding like a UN report on the effects of climate change?
Of course, Suzuki wasn't the first person I had heard this from. As far back as 1980 I can remember my Dad going on about climate change and how the "Greenhouse Effect" would never be like what people were commonly assuming it would be at the time. People thought my Dad was a crackpot back then and a few hold-outs still think that. But it seems that the Old Man was right as was Suzuki, who's around seven years older than my Dad.
Even if human beings and our related industries aren't a contributing factor to climate change - who can argue that the emissions produced by burning fossil fuels and the tonnes of waste and by-products produced as the result of our endeavours aren't harmful? Only the willfully ignorant. If you are willing to argue, please suck on your tail pipe for a while and tell me how you feel. It takes an incredible will to stay unfocused and unaware of the side effects of pollution on the ecosystem. It takes dogged determination to not look our world as it is in the face and see what is happening all around us.
See this article from the New York Times, dated 02.02.07.


I am back at work after a four day absence. I won't say it was a relaxing four days as it was filled with misunderstanding, cancellations and a leftover double helping of stress. I was asked by a casual acquaintance if I would rather be back in South Burnaby dealing with addicts, shoplifters and the homeless? To be honest, during final exams at any rate, the answer is yes.
It is quiet today, almost calm. One woman who works here just returned from China and has brought me kim chi flavoured chips. There was also rib-eye steak flavoured chips, but someone else claimed those. And I bet that if this post does get comments, it'll be about the chips. (or crisps for our friends in the UK)


Blogger Geosomin said...

"And I bet that if this post does get comments, it'll be about the chips."
But I *like* crisps...

I've noticed that a lot of people where I work tend to bash Suzuki for a lot of his methods, but I admire the man for what he is trying to do. Noone is perfect and he's had a great deal of good things to say. I'm biased, as he was a hero of mine as a kid - inspired me about science and how things work and the environtment and...well many many things. He may not be perfect, but I do believe we need public figures with a scientific knowledge to speak in public and raise awareness. I can thingk ofmany occasions where something he said intrigued or frustrated me and I ended up learning a great deal in researching the info out...Sure noone can conclusively prove global warming anymore that you can prove many other things, but that doesn't mean you should stop looking for ways to leave less of a mark on the planet we live on and try and be a better, more intelligent person.
...and I think Kimchi crisps would be yummy...

17 April, 2007 08:50  
Anonymous d.e.t. said...

If Suzuki were upfront about the debate his credibility would be in tact. I'm not a libertarian and I do believe we need to protect the environment. I have kids and want something better for them, but environmentalists do their cause a diservice when they stretch things in order to push their own agenda.

18 April, 2007 13:25  
Blogger Magnus said...

Problem though, D.E.T., is that the other side has been covering up, obfuscating facts and playing down the harm that they have been doing to the environment since even the 19th Century. They get an awful lot of latitude when relating their side of the story. Why is it that some people don't get irritated when their side is caught fudging the facts?
Perhaps, given all those years of falsehoods and P.R. spin, people like Dr. Suzuki feel they have no choice but to fudge with the facts on their own side?

18 April, 2007 16:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I've told Magnus before, I can remember a time when my right-wing-conservative dad was a little more reasonable about things. He once said that weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean were never the same since the testing of atomic bombs. He might not think that now, but I think he was right.

19 April, 2007 21:00  

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