A fresh swing of the pendulum

January 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

History is replete with repetition. We call it the “swing of the pendulum” as if we are caught in a trap of our own nature and inclination to do well and badly over and over. The expression, “we can’t go forward if we don’t look back,” is wishful thinking because it is as though we do look back and see all the warmongering and cruelty and – does something in us say, “Hey that looks like fun- let’s do it some more”?

Until now, perhaps.

It certainly seems there is a global revolution going on. Young people have taken up the torch and using it to burn the feet of “old” politicians to start doing things right and to a large extent, it seems many of the “old boys” are joining the fray. For so many decades, scientists and environmentalists have been crying out about the dangers of how humans are affecting the planet. They have been ignored, offered lip service and positively shut down. They have at times been ordered not to speak to the press; their funding has been terminated. 

With the call of youthful students, joined let us hasten to say, by adults who have been equally trying to bring serious attention and action to the dangers and are proud to follow the youngsters – plus the dire warnings of the planet itself, those sinners who were given the trust of the voters over so many years are finally being held to account, finally frightened into concessions and action.

Canada has been investing $138 billion per year of tax payers’ dollars into the oil industry and does not call this a subsidy, ranking Canada as one of the world’s biggest supporters of fossil fuel. Five of Canada’s big banks are on the top twelve list of investors in fossil fuel. This year, Trudeau has committed to cutting government investment in fossil fuels.

This is not the only rebellion to rise above history’s horizon. Idle No More and Black Lives Matter are tearing down statues of those who were regarded as heroes but are realized as violent racists and vicious oppressors of the Indigenous and Black peoples. Along with BIPOC and the LGBTQ2S+ social awareness is shifting to admit to the ravages of the past and embrace the coming of change in attitudes, speech and regard.

On March 11, 2010, Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), bringing home a whole new approach to people with disabilities which has extended throughout business, schooling, the arts.

It is as though philosophy and physics have given birth to a new age. If “to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” so we seem to be at a place in history where all the centuries of racial and social abuse, humiliation and exclusion are finally being answered by the swing of that proverbial pendulum to stamp out racism and bigotry and bring forth a thirst for commonality (defined as “general or universal body”).

Much good news as this is, it must be matched by good news for the planet or the joy of raising above a dark history will pale as our home, Earth, degenerates and fails. Erin O’Toole made a video of himself yelling as is his style, about how much we need the oil industry to continue to power our vehicles, heat our homes – light the Centennial Flame standing guard over the Houses of Parliament. He ignored completely what is globally understood: that oil, coal and gas must be replaced by non-polluting sources of energy, that as much money and jobs can made from this conversion, that all the technology is in place, that there are fortunes ready to support the move to green energy.

That there is no alternative.

All this debate when the time for debate is over and only all-encompassing change makes sense. The O’Tooles and the Bolsonaros of this world – all of them fighting to maintain the destructive status quo must be stopped and awakened.

Yet, in addition to all the progress, we don’t talk much about war. The continuing warmongering and sabre rattling, the ever-increasing proliferation of nuclear weapons, the actual fighting and mass murders are still a daily matter in many parts of the world; the hungering for more violence has many effects on the overall picture here in earth. It is only rarely that what scientists say about the serious damage environmentally that warring by the world or regimes commits, in addition to the horrors people share.

Man, not just the civilians but the soldiers too. They are people, strong and vibrant coming back from “war zones” disabled on many levels and dispirited.

There are lots of reasons to decide that we can do this. There are still chances to repair and revitalize the world around us but the time is very short. Follow the money but money lies and people are frightened and believe. That may be the very base of it all.

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