Life and Climate Change

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I’m trying to stay away from politics and focus instead on how we can move ahead with ideas about business, public policy and planning that help move the needle when it comes to climate change.

In the past, I’ve blogged about public transportation, communication, the idea of creating economic ‘nodes’ outside of traditional downtown areas (mainly to alleviate congestion), the tar sands, house planning and more. And about a whole tonne of other issues beyond the idea of simple day-to-day politics.

I care about the future of this planet.

Three life-altering events hit me recently and all conspire to push me in a new direction:

  1. I moved
  2. Someone close to me had a stroke, survived and is now permanently unemployed so that person has dedicated their time to protesting climate issues at their local parliament
  3. I went to a presentation at an astronomy and realized that this planet – one of billions in such an inconcievably large universe – is literally one of a kind.

I shouldn’t say I moved, but me and my family moved. I was depressed in the last town we lived in and it seems odd, but I think it was the city in general that got me down. I tried very hard to integrate and make a presence, but I wasn’t accepted. That was the social level.

On an economic / planning level, their environmental outlook was dismal. It is and will always be a car town. Pedestrians, cyclists and those needing other forms of transportation will be left out of the picture. The town will likely be one of the first Canadian towns to go bankrupt when the time comes because their city planning doesn’t account for the massive upkeep with infrastructure that they’ll have to address within a few years. If tax bills don’t go through the roof, they’ll fall apart.

What’s of critical importance is that people won’t learn and adapt when they live in their own little bubble, determined to push forward while driving in reverse. It can’t be done. People have to exist in a realm where they rely on and socialize with other people in person on a day to day basis. I came to learn that car culture and media vices suck us into our own sense of malaise and boredom mixed with anxiety, depression, racism and frustration. I learned that we are too quick to lock ourselves into our homes or apartments without even seeing a single person on any given day.

I moved to a city that already has a solid plan in place and they actually do things. More so, I’ve made new friends within a short time and have felt acceptance with the things that I do. Car drivers aren’t hostile towards cyclists; pedestrians are treated well with plowed sidewalks and functional downtown businesses.

I don’t feel trapped any more and I’m not afraid. The town we now live in reflects that.

As we were going through the process of having to find a new hometown, someone close to me had a severe stroke while undergoing heart surgery. When he woke up, he was a fraction of the person he was and nearly 2 years later, still hasn’t recovered well. He’s physically fit, but so much of his mind is gone. Or, at least his ability to communicate what’s in there.

He lost his business and is pretty much permanently unemployed. To occupy his time, he takes the bus to the local parliament and protests for action on climate change.

I was feeling pretty useless by that standard and decided it was time I joined in.

But only after seeing a presentation at an astronomy center that did one of those ‘A BILLION YEARS AGO …’ stories about our planet in context of the universe.

Holy fuck, was I in for a jolt.

I’m an atheist, but it’s so hard to concieve of how rare the Earth is. As far as we know, it’s the only one. Seeing all the billions of planets that exist and millions of stars they revolve around, we’ve yet to discover a single planet that’s similar to ours, let alone capable of sustaining life.

I won’t get all religious on you because I’m not, but the odds of that happening are mind-blowing. I can see how religious people can easily convince themselves that a god created this planet for their comfort and joy. They couldn’t be more wrong, but that’s for another day 🙂

I know my recent ‘discoveries’ make me seem like a simpleton, and I guess I am when there’s so much to learn about our universe. All the more reason for people to do this simple math when it comes to the plastics, gas, paper, oil, food and thousands of other products and how much it contributes to the now-quick demise of life on this planet.

It’s insane.

And yes, it’s overwhelming, but simple, little old me has decided that enough is enough.

We have to start to stop.

But we also have to share good ideas about how we can change so that change comes that much easier. If we close our minds on this and give up because we’re so basic compared to the complexity of this universe, we’re missing an opportunity to lay the foundation for something truly greater than our day-to-day selfishness.

This is a critical juncture in the fate of this incredibly rare situation and we need to take ownership of the situation before we allow it to destroy us.

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