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  • Climate Change? No, Climate Collapse!!

    Rick James

    IT JUST CONTINUED TO ROLL ON AND ON month after month, well, that is, up until COVID 19 appeared on the scene.  Prior to that, it was all the media’s attention focused on climate action protests; crowds out in the street or demonstrating in front of our legislature demanding action!! Action!! Stop the pipeline!! No LNG plants on our coast!! Keep them oil tankers out of local waters!! etc. etc. And so it rolls on, all of us peasants’ attention totally devoted to the supply side of this burgeoning disaster. What makes it particularly sad and distressing is that we have yet to examine this cultural development more thoroughly, say, by stepping back and looking at ancient history.

    Like if we go back a few centuries, it certainly comes across—what with climate change well underway—how we are most likely headed for civilizational collapse. This is what happened with the Maya and Sumerians after they overworked and trashed their local environment in order to maintain their overly sophisticated cultures and ever-growing populations. So that being said, it is not the supply side of the equation we should devote all our energy to in order to slow it all down, what with us overloading our atmosphere with carbon, but the demand side!!

    Whether it is alcohol, tobacco, cocaine or fentanyl, if there’s a big demand for a particularly addictive consumer product, some entity, whether legal or otherwise, will be most eager to step forward and feed that habit in order to reap a danged good dollar! So it is with the oil and gas extraction industries, which have been most delighted to step up to the plate to garner excellent returns. Yup, they are there for us to ensure we continue on with our addiction to fossil fuels. Like it is with highly addictive drugs, it is a total waste of time trying to rid ourselves and punish the producers of these products. Yes, the oil and gas industry does operate on the legal side of this demand, but you can bet your bottom dollar that both our provincial and federal ministry offices remain well- booked with appointments with lobbyists working for the industry to keep it that way.

    That all being said, it is far past time for all of us to get serious and dry out from our addiction to Shell, Petrocan, and Chevron. Still, it’s going to be tough since our identities are so tied into our vehicles what with car makers having designed them so they would morph into extensions of our personalities in order to pull off good sales. With all the millions upon millions of infernal (internal) combustion engines being fed by the global petroleum industry, we will continue to roll on with ever increasing warming of the atmosphere. The lead cause of climate change can be laid directly at the feet of all the tons and tons of carbon pouring out of our exhaust pipes daily.

        Still, it might be too much to ask what with our total cultural dependence on our motor cars in maintaining our society. So maybe we should start off by takin’ it slow. So if we were to make a commitment to drying out, let’s start with: no more gas powered garden and lawn equipment. You know, them noisy neighbourhood mowers, weed eaters and rototillers. Yup, we gotta go back to using ole push mowers, lawn clippers and shovels! I mean, when you think about it, the exercise will be good for us all what with so many out there these days so obviously overweight and out of shape. Then we will move onto our gas-powered recreational toys; play things like gasoline- and diesel-powered recreational boats. I mean it’s far past the time we got back to strictly oar and sail out there on the water. Then all those noisy off-road four wheelers which are so invasive and intrusive for all of us who head out for a quiet hike or pedal bike tour out in the woods.

    And then what’s with Joe Average living here in suburbia on the island, having to own and drive an oversized four-wheel drive Dodge Ram crew cab truck powered by one massive 5.7 liter hemi engine? Rather pathetic, too, since one never, ever sees a spot of dirt on their shinny paint jobs, like strictly used for drivin’ to the mall, liquor store and golf course.  Like an old bud of mine that used to live out in Mitchell Bay at the far end of Malcolm Island drove back and forth into town (Sointula) ten miles over a beat up gravel logging road in all sorts of inclement north island weather.  Looking back to those years, he said he could never figure why everybody and his dawg these days just has to own a 4x4  since he managed just fine with his rusty old two wheel drive pickup out in the sticks. Then there’s all the young folks today who continue on following in the path set by their elders. 

    Like just this past summer, there was that big demonstration by all our high school students down there at Filberg Park up here in Courtenay. More chanting and screaming: Climate Change!! Climate Change!! Government do somethin’!! Oil and gas industry: Cease and Desist!! Cease and Desist!! Cancel Trans Mountain Pipeline!! So, yeah, totally focused on the supply side of the equation while they continue to follow their parents’ bad behaviour by becoming majorly addicted to fossil fuels. Don’t believe me? Just check out the traffic pile ups in front of all our local schools at the start and finish of the school day. Like there’s mom after mom after mom…driving up with little Johnny or Joanne to drop them off or pick ’em up. And what’s with that? So my suggestion, another demonstration but this time demand action now: “More school buses!! More buses!! More side walks and bike lanes!!”

    I mean back in Jurassic times when I was going to school down in Victoria back in the 1950s and ’60s, all of us either walked or biked to Doncaster Elementary with some of us doin’ one or two miles one way a day. Like even when I finally got to attend Oak Bay’s plumy high school, which had some 1,200 or so students enrolled in it back then, there might have been only five or ten of us that were ever dropped off by car at the door. And today? Man, it’s the exact bloody opposite!!  Five or ten young folks might walk or bike to our local high schools while all the rest get driven there by mommy.

    Anyway, enough ranting for now.  Gotta jump in my car cuz its time to head off to Chevron and gas up my 1968 Buick Riviera with high test Supreme needed to drive its 430 cubic inch!! V-8. Man, she goes like bat outta hell but not only that, I really look like somebody when drivin’ around in the Valley in this gorgeous old land yacht!!

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