A new ecological civilization, it whispers ever so softly
By Guy Dauncey
There comes a time in the evolution of every civilization when the Universe sends us a new message. Slowly, it works its way through the multiple layers of a long-established culture. It is buffeted by resistance and repulsed by rulers, but in spite of this it finds its voice in the songs of poets, the impulses of teenagers, and the dreams of millions.
Guy Dauncey is founder of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, co-founder of the Victoria Car Share Cooperative, and the author or co-author of ten books, including The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming and Journey to the Future: A Better World Is Possible. He is currently completing The Economics of Kindness: A Ten-Year Transition to a Green Cooperative Economy. He lives in Yellow Point, on Vancouver Island, Canada. His website is www.thepracticalutopian.ca.
I premise my analysis on five statements:
The climate emergency is real.
The ecological emergency is real.
The inequality, household debt and affordable housing crises are real.
A new global financial crisis is lurking, caused by excessive corporate and private debt and banking deregulation.
We need a ten-year mobilization to achieve a rapid transition to a green cooperative economy that is human-friendly, community-friendly, climate-friendly and nature-friendly, leaving self-interested capitalism behind us.
There are massive forest fires in Siberia. Greenland’s melting is accelerating. Record heatwaves are roasting Europe. The world’s insects are dying off. The scary news keeps accumulating.
We are living on the edge of an emergency that is just getting started, and climate is only the half of it. There’s also an ecological emergency. How are we to respond? It’s easy to slip into complacency, or to be overcome by fear, followed by a sense of impotence. You know the crises are real, but the children are coming to visit, there’s a holiday to plan, and don’t get me started on the problems we’re having at work.
The first step to end complacency and neutralize fear is to put the crisis on your weekly to-do list:
Weed the garden
Visit your friend in hospital
Sign the kids up for karate/soccer/piano/dancing lessons
Do something to tackle the climate and ecological crises
June 2019. The summer days bring exquisite shades of green. The bees are out, the ants rush around, and the wind rustles quietly in the tops of the trees. A fresh-baked rhubarb sponge cake sits on the kitchen counter. Life is sensuous, beautiful, and quite frankly, exquisite. Tiny mauve butterflies flit in and out of the flowers.
And then Cassandra arrives, she of the noble Greek ancestry, admired by the god Apollo, she with the golden locks and the long white flowing dress, reading from her list of warnings:
Will you join me? I need lots of people to join the November Offensive, so that together, we can make a difference.
This summer’s forest fires and smoke-filled skies have left many of us asking, “What will it take to end the climate dithering and start DOING something to tackle the growing emergency?”
The IPCC has just reminded us of the urgency of the crisis, and the need to reduce emissions globally by 45% by 2030 if we are to limit the warming to 1.5C.
The BC NDP government is getting ready to launch its climate plan at the end of November, somehow combining climate action sufficient to meet its stated goal of a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 with its recent climate-disastrous decision to approve the big LNG Canada project.
The timing is critical to impress our New Democrat and Green MLAs of the need for urgent action to speed the transition to 100% renewable energy and protect the forests.
Trudeau: ‘No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and leave them there’
Trump: “We’ve got underneath us more oil than anybody … and I want to use it.”
I have very little to add to this. Emotionally, culturally, empathetically, educationally and behaviourally, Trump and Trudeau are as different as different can be. Trump is a bully, a braggard and a boor. Trudeau is a refined classical decoration on the carpet of civilization. Trump is a dirty stain.
Yet when it comes to energy and oil, their brains and their political instincts think alike. Trump is a proud climate denier. His “Grab them by the oil-wells” thoughts are at least consistent with his larger outlook, which is nationalist and mercantilist, as if the eighteenth century had never ended.
I wish I didn’t have to write this. I count myself a friend of the NDP/Green Alliance, and I had high hopes for the government’s new climate action plans. 
BC’s Ministry of Environment has published a series of Clean Growth Intentions Papers, with a deadline for public feedback of August 24th, in the heart of this fire and smoke-filled summer. In my head, I can see that they have been framed in a very positive way, emphasizing the multiple economic benefits of engaging in climate action, reframed as clean growth.
But the policies floated contain little that is new. They are really timid. And by downplaying the climate crisis almost to a state of mental non-existence, they have written the urgency out of the picture. In my heart, I feel as if they have been written by a holiday season policy-drone operating on auto-pilot. Hard words, but that’s what I feel.
$4.5 Billion Dollars to Subsidize Fossil Fuels? Here’s a Much Better Idea
$4.5 billion of Canada’s money, to buy a bitumen pipeline? Some suggest that it could rise as high as $12 billion, including future construction and legal costs.
So what if the money was invested in solutions to the climate crisis, instead making things worse by being invested in the primary cause, which is our use of fossil fuels? When Canada signed the Paris Climate Agreement most people presumed that it was being signed honestly, not as an act of laugh-behind-your-hand hypocrisy.
Thirty to Fifty Times More Jobs
That much money could leverage enough electricity to replace most of Alberta’s coal and gas-fired electricity, and generate between 30 and 50 times as many jobs. It could also power 18 million electric vehicles for 25 years. Continue reading Canada’s Choice→