The Willingness of Act

This is an op-ed piece, all comments are welcome. One of the things that has been on my mind for some months deals with the real climatic changes that are going on around the world today and in particular, how people’s perception of climate change and global warming are being altered when faced with catastrophic weather events. I am a man of climatic science, in that I have believed in climate change since the first time I read as a child polar ice caps falling into the ocean. My interest here is whether or not the effects of climate change, i.e. extensive drought and record-setting rain levels, changes people’s impression of global warming and the acceptance of the steps necessary to produce change. I hope that these weather events teaches people to change their overall behaviour going forward, rather than seeing climate change as this thing they have to kill with science so they can go back to their normal lives.

These individuals who are in distraught from wicked weather events, what are their expectations coming out of any climate change negotiation or scientific processes? I wonder about their patience in expecting collectively negotiated results, as well as the time needed to realistically see real-world results. Most citizens’ understanding of climate change is just as basic as their understanding of the tools and solutions to develop a cure. I liken it to someone who didn’t believe in lung cancer and smoked four packs a day. When the doctor tells him/her they have cancer in their lungs, they expect a magic pill.

The reason for my queries is mainly that climate change is a political football, few politicians have the guts to do something tangible about it and many other just want to look like they are doing something before passing off to someone else. Much of weather-affected areas in North America belong to highly populated and agriculturally profitable provinces and states. In the years to come, I believe citizens living in these areas will learn to watch politicians carefully to see their handling of the damages caused by climate change. This goes back to the statement earlier with respect to the longevity of the topic in people’s minds as I see different political stripes benefiting from this. Owing to the past responses of natural disasters by all levels of government, I feel the Republican/Tories will try to make short-term political gains, such as monetary incentives and relocation, while stalling any meaningful discussions about what can be done about it. On the other hand, the Democrats/Liberals/NDP will aim for the long run, such as IPCC and scientific research, but I fear the time for action is now because it is no longer an academic exercise.

I support no political parties, as far as climate change is concerned, the public is too complacent to act as an unified mass to demand change and political stripes merely have a different take to passing the political football.

As always, comments and suggestions are always welcomed.


About eatonkwan

Engineer by profession, interests lie in environmental development, LEED and sustainable development.
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