Old habits die hard

March 6, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Martina Rowley

Sometime last year, a friend told me that her twentysomething-year-old children didn’t want to talk about environmental issues because they were so freaked out by the dire long-term predictions and what their future may hold in this new age of climate change. Her son even said he didn’t want to have children because of it.

Knowing that many of the younger generations are truly worried, it makes my blood boil when I hear still too many individuals—regular citizens, as well as politicians and big decision-makers—who flat-out, 1) refuse to accept climate change exists, 2) think business-as-usual is a viable option, 3) point the finger at others whom they feel are the real culprits, and 4) believe it won’t affect them much in their lifetime anymore, so they needn’t change their habits.

Such opinions seem to lack any compassion for present and future generations. Their children. Their grandchildren or nieces and nephews. What really bothers me are individuals who are quick to point their finger at others, those they feel are to blame for the greater problem or who are pushing for environmental change that the finger-pointers want no part of. Funnily enough, they never see themselves as part of the problem. 

I heard it again in a recent conversation, and not for the first time, where that deep-seated “us” versus “them” mentality raised its ugly head. With ‘us’ being more of the general population and the finger-pointer(s), who want to continue their lives and habits as they want, and ‘them’ being the environmentalists, like myself; the activists, the disrupters, the protesting Greta Thunbergs of the world who push for more action and change for a greater, common good. 

I know it’s not easy to change one’s habits but when was pointing the finger of blame at “you people” ever acceptable? (Yes, I’ve had that said to me too and not by Don Cherry.)

Sweeping change, be it social, environmental or a civil rights movement, has always been hard to accept for some, though the resulting changes have always benefited a far greater number of citizens than those who protested, often doing so at great personal risk.

Yet, big changes simply become necessary. Slavery was for centuries accepted, until it was abolished across the British Empire in 1834. Women had to protest to be allowed to vote, which across Canada only became legal in 1918 and it took until 1929 for women to be legally accepted as “persons”. Only in 1960 were First Nations allowed to vote without giving up treaty rights, and segregation and racial discrimination of African Americans only started improving in the 1950s and 60s and still has a long way to go. 

I wish this didn’t suggest that anything worth fighting for needs to be hard, controversial and split groups into two angry halves. But what can environmental nay-sayers be against in a united fight against climate change and mitigation: our human race surviving and thriving long-term? Is that not clearly something all of us, each and every one, should be participating in as very best and willingly as they can? 

The effects of climate change are no laughing matter and will and do affect all of us. Even being white and privileged (there, I said it) won’t make the air you breath any better than your neighbour’s. Now I’d better climb off my soapbox; I still have knee-deep snow to clear away after that recent three-day snowstorm.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.