Dear Editor: On November 11, reflecting on the monumental sacrifices that Canadian soldiers made over the past hundred years, I couldn't help but think how desperately we have failed them. What would they be saying, now that we - in the face of massive and still growing scientific evidence - are stumbling so badly in making our own sacrifices to fight climate change?
This was - and to a large extent still is – a winnable war, but we've too often excused our foot dragging by pleading helplessness or 'far too great an economic cost' to go green, and fast. In war, it's mainly the young who are thrown in harm's way. That's also true when it comes to man-made climate change, with one key difference - who's our enemy? The cartoon character Pogo hit the nail on the head back on the first Earth Day back in 1971: 'We have met the enemy and he is us'…particularly rich and powerful fossil fuel companies that have paid immense sums to deny climate change and buy U.S. politicians for decades, severely retarding forward movement on renewable energy.
Time is getting short to stop runaway global warming, yet we have all the tools - right now! - needed to move past fossil fuels and get our good ol' planet Earth back on a sustainable track. What's still missing is the political will. Prior to last year's election, Justin Trudeau's Liberals were full of way overdue promises for Canadian climate action, but they're now falling back to a more politically acceptable but treacherous middle ground.
Nature always bats last, and so far Mr. Trudeau's weak carbon tax proposals and probable thumbs up to more pipelines will fall far short of what's needed to put the brakes on the worst impacts of climate change. And even more important, since the election of Donald Trump, it's critical for Mr. Trudeau to show world leadership on an issue he so proudly proclaimed at the Paris climate talks and the United Nations. ('Canada is back. We're here to help.')
Will we finally live up to the example of Canadian soldiers sacrificing their lives so we could continue experiencing a free, safe and stable world? Or will children, grandkids and all our descendants bitterly and rightly resent us for our lack of gumption when we had the chance to make a difference? It's our choice...and their fate.