And Nero Played …

July 8, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Arnold Schwarzenegger is an environmentalist and spoke at the Austrian World Summit on climate change this week. The summit carries his name and he wants to start the real battle against climate change at the grass roots and eliminate pollution, instead of the multi- prong attack on the multi problems presented to us by the decline and fall of so much of this natural world. Pollution is caused by burning fossil fuels, as we currently do all the time and everywhere.

People are the ones to make the change, he claimed, siting the fall of the Berlin Wall. There were no world leaders there on that fateful day when East Berliners climbed and crossed the wall and people on both sides dug at it with shovels, picks and axes until it came down and the soldiers didn’t shoot anyone or try to stop them. Nor did local politicians show up to help or protest – it was all about the will of the people.

The will of the people is what elects high and low ranking politicians in the indelible hope that they will rise to their promises.

A few years ago, Fort McMurray burnt to the ground, burnt to cinders by a wild fire – some say conditions caused by climate change gave the fire fuel to spread and cause the largest recorded evacuation of some 8,000 people from the community.

This year, Lytton, B.C. burned entirely, people fleeing in vehicles, many having saved their animals, others knowing they had suffered and died; people simply driving in a direction away from the fire, hoping and hoping to find freedom from the inferno. When they arrived to safe places, the depth of their shock was indefinable.

Just recently, a huge fire blew up and burned on the water, in the ocean of the Gulf of Mexico because of a pipeline break at the bottom of the ocean, shortly after which, a gigantic fiery eruption blasted from the Caspian Sea. Mud volcano was named but there are pipelines there too.

Fire season has started early in B.C. this year. With the trauma of Lytton in mind, residents of vulnerable communities are warned to be ready to leave their homes at any time.

Meanwhile, the price of gas has shot up to $1.33/litre plus, across this country, while the players controlling the price of gas play paddy-fingers with it and oil prices increase.

The tar sands investors rejoice and talk about a new boom and get those pipelines in the ground to pump the dirtiest oil in the world to one of the most pristine harbours in the world.

The hotly contested Trans Mountain Pipeline that endangers and destroys ocean habitats by virtue of the 80 times increase in freighter traffic has been given the go-ahead and orcas will have to find another place to go away from the dangerously noisy and filthy vessels that will likely bash into them..

Meanwhile, the celebrations of an increase in business for the tar sands reminds us of the crazed Roman tyrant, Nero, playing his violin as Rome burned.

Arnold Schwarzenegger informed the audience in Austria that the Ford company is to produce a Ford 150 truck as an electric vehicle. “There’s power!” he exclaimed.

He wanted them to know about the two European freighters run entirely by batteries and another that is powered by hydrogen. He wants us to be positive and talk about the changes and inventions that show it can be done – talk about the European countries promising to be net-zero by 2050, 2045 even – isn’t that wonderful news? Things are happening; people are listening and if we, the people, keep pushing, everything will be alright.

He also wants us to bring pressure to bear on our leaders and here, he echoed Greta Thunberg, who spoke just before him, talking about the hypocrisy of leaders who smile and promise and never ask a scientist to come to such a conference to speak.

“Look at the G7 meeting – what did they accomplish?” posed Mr. Schwarzenegger. “Nothing!” he bellowed and he and Greta agreed on that score at least.

I wonder truly what happened to Trudeau. He was all positive energy about the climate in 2015 – and we believed him but something happened. Did industrial leaders sit him down and tell him who really runs this country and it wasn’t him? Did they put his feet to the fire and tell him to pull back because that is what he did: he pulled back so many of his initiatives, his ideals somehow crushed, perhaps with the tales they spun of the absolute fall of the Canadian economy?

The old lies of jobs and the international needs for Canada’s dirty oil and only this kind of money matters – don’t give us that bull about how clean energy necessarily also creates jobs.

Pollution began in the 19th Century, with the heavy advent of polluting machinery and the dawn in so many eyes of exactly how rich a person can become with the right tools and no conscience.

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