Fires, floods and blame

August 13, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Constance Scrafield

With Your Permission

We are all in this together. That is what so many signs say until it becomes like a platitude – said so often, it loses its power to convince. The signs are mostly talking about the pandemic. How we have to take precautions with our distance and masks and washing our hands; how we should if we can, get our vaccinations, one, two and they might start encouraging us to get a third as a push back to the Delta variant.

Yet, for the first time the idea of being in this together has always been true but we never had the occasion to repeat it so often. Well, it is the pandemic that is the source of the push to believe, to promote the notion of collective responsibility but really, “‘twas ever thus!”

Collectivity is a numbers game and never was that game played as vigorously as it is now. If we absolutely agree that the pandemic must be stopped, as we seemed to until recently – keeping at home, careful in the shops and on the streets, protecting ourselves, protecting one another – and we nearly got it right down to 120 cases in any given day.

Then the red flags were brought down and we over-reacted, collecting together in normal ways, not careful about with whom – not careful about continuing to be careful. According to Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, a scientist with the WHO, because of the variants, specifically the Delta variant, she continues to urge the same fall safes as we have been doing – the basics of hand washing, masks, distance, not to let our guard down and to understand that there is no way of knowing where and how the risk of catching the new and equally deadly variants are. 

Cases on the rise here in Ontario are almost entirely due to exposure to mainly the Delta variant, according to the charts on Dashboard.

Collective responsibility: the big and little pictures. We keep saying it and it keeps not mattering. “The fossil fuel industry” which every government supports with huge “loans” and tax exemptions, is also allowed to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. According to Corporate Accountability, industry leaders try to influence delegates by “wining and dining them behind closed doors.”

Can a good dinner influence members of governments to vote in favour of fossil fuels as opposed to supporting the extremely urgent need for action against fossil fuels and the very severe contributions they have made – the damage – to our planet?

Can promises of money to support the next campaign? What is so wonderful about winning an election if your promises are lies and your achievements are taking us in the wrong directions?

Is the lure of corruption worth the crises your children will have to bear? The terrors you yourself may have to face?

Amazon has very recently completely overhauled their employment policies upping  the game on every level, specifically in the United States, where their minimum wage has doubled to $15.00 (USD, of course) per hour, medical family benefits, financial support, offers of shares in Amazon, maternity leave, you name it. Things have improved in their Canadian plants as well but vague and not as generous. What a turn around here, brought about by the international comment and pressure, the finger pointing that bombarded the company with one of the worse records for employee treatment.

There has been plenty of information, dire reports of things to come and evidence of things that have come: unbelievable fires and floods, devastating countless lands, forests – whole jungles, vast swaths of pine trees – homes and lives around the world. Imagine being the scientist who has known the truth of the matter and has been shouting it for decades, now to see the beginnings of the predictions coming true exactly as predicted.

All is not lost, many experts agree and the tides can be mitigated with action but now, right now and not in the foreseeable but too distant future. Without real action, real switch in mind-set, there is less reason for optimism at all.

It may seem that we talk about the climate too much, which, given the dangers and the very present calamities on every front, it is impossible to talk about the climate too much.

Having said that, the discourse itself could shift a bit to our politicians, especially those who are not talking about the climate, who want to skim the subject and talk about pipelines. The climate on this planet is also more than wind and weather and there are ways to include the other and very real dangers from the other direction: the slavery, racism, human abuse, animal and plant extinction: the moral degradation of humanity.

All this needs to be addressed all at once, so that a pattern of healing can reveal itself, as we insist on the production of energy, food and the protection of the species of this earth – that includes us – being treated with a view to survival, eventually, to thrive.

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