Many years ago (2008) I published Failsafe: Saving the Earth from Ourselves. I wrote about homo-sapiens as perhaps a Failed Genetic Experiment. I delivered the content of this book to students at Carleton University, in a television course on Ecology and Culture. Half way through the course I looked out at the young people and offered an apology – that my generation had not left them with a healthy planet.
Much later in 2019, I participated in the Climate Strikes on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was quite emotional for me to see thousands of children shouting out for politicians to get behind the science. I was in admiration of their strike, yet sad that Earth matters had not changed for the better.
However, a brilliant pushback to climate denial had been made by Polly Higgins, a fellow Scot. She was a barrister and created a world-wide campaign to criminalize “ecocide.” Unfortunately, Polly Higgins died from cancer in April 2019. Her strong belief was that “ecocide”, as a law, would change the world. Her work continues with a vast legal team in many countries. Her everlasting quip will never be forgotten:
“I have a choice to protect our Earth, or let it be destroyed.”
These are the stakes we all face.
This campaign of criminalizing “ecocide” was aimed at the destruction of ecosystems by the carbon multi-nationals and their political lackeys. The instrument of “ecocide” is growing. The Marshall Islands and Maldives in the Pacific Ocean have brought legal requests to the UN about their dire situation with rising sea levels. The European Union, led by the President of France, is making ecocide a criminal act in order to curb the damage done by corporations.
We have had the scientific knowledge since 1980 to create the solution to Climate Emergency, but the obstacles were not technical or scientific. The obstacles were the attitudes, values and concepts that define the dominance of corporate values. Their bottom line of profits was upheld by successive governments that devalued science. It was never about science. It was about the brand of economics favored by Big Oil and other multi-national corporations promoting carbon extraction, irrespective of the damage caused to ecosystems and populations.
Did anyone notice that degradation of the Earth’s ecology was the catalyst for radical Climate Change? Food crops were destroyed by horrendous heat waves as carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere. Did no one realize that food riots and world panic trace back to one cause – the economic agenda of corporations? The undercover deal between governments and corporations was invested in political and economic structures that centered on the carbon combustion complex. This collective agenda destabilized world order and endangered the world’s populations. Billionaire backers protected their profits, downplayed scientific conclusions and deliberately dulled the intelligence of the general public. They paid selected scientists to promote the position that the existing evidence on climate change does not support crisis warnings. This is a bought and sold lie! Everyone knew the lack of truth – the US government, corporations and industrialists – all knew the truth. To keep the bottom line of profits in their favor, they were willing to accept that civilization would be destroyed in the not so far future.
The brilliant indigenous response from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” (2020) is very clear.
“What was needed was the wisdom of environmental science, the clarity of philosophical analysis and the creative power of the written word, to find new ways to understand and reimagine our relation to the natural world. (283)
We seem to be living in an era of economics of fabricated demand and compulsive overconsumption….we continue to embrace economic systems that prescribe infinite growth on a finite planet…..we need reforms that would ground economics in ecological principles and the constraints of thermodynamics. (300)
Climate change will unequivocally defeat economics that are based on constant taking without giving in return. (363)
This applies equally to the COVID–19 pandemic, which is killing people world-wide.
It is necessary to follow the science or face disaster.
The coronavirus pandemic has devastated our planet. Health officials appear every day on TV News: broadcasts to provide protocols – such as distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and reducing contacts. Their directions, however, are often ignored by considerable populations who insist on their freedom to do whatever they wish, particularly with the economy. The balance between government and population are often seen by them as oppressive. Scientists do not yet know the full nature of the virus – its effects on the body and just how lethal it can be to different populations. Any nation decimated by such a disease cannot expect to have a functioning economy. Thus a horrible damage occurs to both mental and physical health. Essential steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus are not yet working.
Science is in a race to create workable vaccines. There is, however, good news. Pfizer and BioNTech have developed a coronavirus vaccine and claim that it is 90 per cent effective. They are asking the US Drug and Food Administration to approve the vaccine for emergency use. Other potential vaccines are undergoing Phase 3 studies by Moderno, AstroZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. However, there is a major difficulty. Pfizer’s vaccine requires a super-cold storage, as it needs to be kept at 70 degrees Celsius (-94F). This cold chain makes delivery very challenging. The logistic issues of this requirement omits many countries in the world from receiving the vaccine, as vaccine shots will spoil at normal refrigeration temperatures. The 70 degree Celsius requirement of Pfizer eliminates delivering vaccines to rural areas and poor nations that are hit by surging infection counts. Their vaccine is based on synthetic mRNA to activate the immune system against the virus and this has to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Other vaccines being developed by Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc do not have this drawback, as they are aiming at the temperature of a regular refrigerator.
Thankfully, the President Elect in America follows the science – Joe Biden has organized a new COVID Task Force as his first presidential task.