Margaret Wente did us a favour by her assessment of the efforts to explain to uncommitted Canadians the need to take action against global warning (Globe & Mail, Saturday, October 16th). She points out that people find it hard to react to invisible, distant threats. So they shrug off evidence, such as the significant reduction in Polar Ice Caps, that is short of calamitous.
And there are plenty of other worries on which people focus: in Canada concerns about global warming is somewhere below crime, health care, taxes, municipal spending, transportation and the economy. So, as she observes, the lamentable lack of political action is understandable: the Canadian government has just been reading the polls.She asks:” W hy are people cooling on warming?” She might have questioned whether people have really been other than cool. Instead, she blames the apocalyptic language used by some environmentalists. Here she departs from journalistic fairness. She comments: “When they say we are doomed unless we radically change our way by the end of next week, people figure the problem is exaggerated.” No environmentalist has referred to such an absurd time line, and certainly not Tim Flannery, whom she refers to in her article.
She has hit on a “catch 22” problem that faces environmentalists. They have not seen action for the decades after the risks have been recognized. They feel compelled to use dramatic language to “wake up” those who remain indifferent. When they do they are regarded as harmless cranks, much as Winston Churchill was for his efforts to alert the British people to the threat of Nazi Germany until it was perilously late.
ForOurGrandchildren attempts to reach Canadians by drawing attention to the position of their descendants. As grandparents most of us are unlikely to be severely hit by global warming. But our grandchildren will be on this planet, in whatever state it is in, for the rest of this century. We owe it to them to keep the issues before the public, as that is the only way to keep the pressure on our Government.
As our logo states: “Our Legacy; Their Future.”