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2018-10-03 10:43:17 -0700
“It’s harder to rally people around a threat to humanity than one that endangers their own backyard.” I spotted this profound yet disturbing truism, albeit perhaps logically Darwinian, in an essay in the July/August issue of The Walrus.
Especially with so much of the planet literally as well as emotionally on fire, it highlights for me the apparently prevailing penny-wise-pound-foolish widespread human mentality when it comes to the serious man-made pollution, though immediately free from our societal view, that’s toxifying our life-sustaining natural environment and worsening an already dire global warming reality.
Perhaps it helps explain the increase in per capita automobile ownership (including SUVs) in Canada last year, compared to 2016, especially in B.C.; it’s something that UBC’s Sauder School of Business economist Werner Antweiler describes as “a disconcerting picture”, considering serious global greenhouse gas concerns. “The number of vehicles has grown faster than the number of people in the country.”
I often wonder whether that unfortunate aspect of our general nature that permits us our tunnel vision regarding environmental degradation, will be our eventual undoing?
Maybe due to (Spaceship) Earth’s large size, there seems to be a general oblivious mentality as though even the largest contamination event can somehow be safely absorbed into the environment—air, sea, and land.
For example, it’s largely believed that when released into gritty B.C. coastal waters, diluted bitumen (dilbit) will likely sink to the bottom, as with the 2010 Michigan spill in which dilbit is still being scraped off of the Kalamazoo River floor.
I wonder, could that sinking characteristic perhaps appeal to some people who are usually apathetic towards the natural environment deep below the water surface: i.e. it will no longer be an eyesore after it sinks—i.e. out of sight, out of mind?
Indeed, it’s safe to assume that, had the (central B.C., August 4, 2014) Mount Polley copper and gold mine massive tailings pond release of a slurry of years’ worth of waste into Polley Lake—yet for which there were no B.C.-environmental-law charges laid against Imperial Metals regardless of its clear recklessness—been located in plain sight just off of, say, Vancouver’s scenic attraction Stanley Park instead of in a region of natural wilderness, it would not have received the relatively minute mainstream news-media coverage it has to date.
Apparently it’s the nature of our beast; although, just because some human behaviour is common or ‘normal’, doesn’t necessarily make it moral or ethical.
It may be the same mentality that allows the immense amount of plastic waste, such as disposable straws, to eventually find its way into our life-filled oceans, where there are few, if any, caring souls to see it.
Indeed, it’s quite fortunate that the plastic waste doesn’t entirely sink out of sight to the bottom, like dilbit, for then nothing may be done about it, regardless of divers’ reports of the awful existence of such plastic tangled messes.
Could it be the same mentality that, when randomly asked by a Global News TV reporter (a few months back) what he thought of government restrictions on disposable plastic straws, compelled a young male Vancouverite wearing sunglasses to retort, “It’s like we’re living in a nanny state, always telling me what I can’t do.”
Astonished by his shortsighted little-boy selfishness, I wondered whether he’d be the same sort of individual who’d likely have a sufficiently grand sense of entitlement—i.e. “Don’t tell me what I can’t waste or do, dude!”—to permit himself to now, say, deliberately dump a whole box of unused straws into the Georgia Strait, just to stick it to the authorities who’d dare tell him that enough is enough with our gratuitous massive dumps of plastics into our oceans (which are of course unable to defend themselves against such guys seemingly asserting self-granted sovereignty over the natural environment), so he could figuratively middle-finger any new government rules with a closing, ‘There! How d’ya like that, pal!”
And, of course, the condition is allowed to fester via a mainstream news-media, being socially liberal and/or economically libertarian, that seems to not have a problem with such infantile oh-well perspectives; the same narrow-mindedness that often makes me question whether we really have plausible hope in turning around our recklessness in time?
After all, why worry about such things immediately unseen, regardless of their most immense importance, especially when there are various undesirable politicians and significant social issues over which to dispute—distractions our mainstream news-media seem only too willing to provide us?
And, indeed, it must be quite convenient for Big Business—especially the fossil fuel industry—to have such a large portion of mainstream society simply too exhausted and preoccupied with just barely feeding and housing their families on a substandard, if not below the poverty line, income to criticize the former for the great damage it’s doing to our planet and health, particularly when that damage may not be immediately observable. Furthermore, to have almost everyone addicted to driving their own fossil-fuel-powered single occupant vehicle helps keep their collective mouths shut about the planet’s greatest and very profitable polluter, lest they feel like and/or be publicly deemed hypocrites.
Besides, what back and brain busting, home-mortgaged labourer sustains the energy to worry about such things immediately unseen, regardless of their most immense importance?
I see it somewhat analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable traditionally marginalized person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line; and, furthermore, to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie—all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined is burning and toxifying at locations rarely investigated.
As a species, we really can be so heavily preoccupied with our own individual admittedly overwhelming little worlds, that we’ll miss the biggest of pictures.
2018-10-03 10:36:14 -0700
put in power to poison our air, water, land. His actions are as severe as Trumps who also only cares about the almighty dollar, not citizens to the point of both risking their own re-election. Actions speaks volumes and both Trudeau & Trump actions, prove their own unstable, greedy,
2018-10-03 10:33:44 -0700
If the government spends my tax dollars on a pipeline that I do not want, I will sue them.
published this page in
2018-10-03 10:33:25 -0700
2018-10-03 10:28:19 -0700
put in power to
!!! Their job is to protect citizens and their environment, right to live healthy, breath clean air, drink clean water. When a Government is so hell bent on a deadly issue to the point of
, this speaks volumes as to their lack of stability on