“Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words.” That’s how Eliza Doolittle expresses her frustration in My Fair Lady, and it expresses perfectly my frustration at our government’s promises with regard to climate change action. It’s all words and no action.
In My Fair Lady, Eliza has spent months cooped up with Professor Henry Higgins learning to pronounce English “correctly” in order to fool people into thinking she is someone she is not. She leaves Higgins and meets Freddy Eynsford-Hill, a fool who talks about his undying love for her but appears afraid to act. Watch and listen to Eliza singing her frustration in “Show Me Now” to see just how angry she is at his empty words.
A couple of weeks ago I heard Catherine McKenna on the radio talking about how Canada is All In on climate change and then I read about it in this article. A country that is All In on climate change would not keep subsidizing the fossil fuel industry; it would not support building expensive new infrastructure to deliver poison to market; it would not say things like “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”
No, a country that is All In would honour its words repeated frequently during the election campaign and would stop fossil fuel subsidies; it would enact a meaningful carbon price and it would commit to raising it beyond 2023; it would introduce training programs for displaced oil sands workers; it would do whatever it takes to match its wonderful empty words from Paris that target getting emissions on a downward trajectory to a 1.5 degree increase, no matter the political price; it would be convincing citizens of the existential urgency of our crisis, not cowering in fear.
Somehow I still believe that you have good intentions, that you understand the urgency of our crisis; but I share Eliza’s frustration in your apparent lack of courage to take the actions that you know are right and necessary.
So Ms. McKenna, please show me that you believe your own words. I sing to you “If you’re All In, Show Me Now!“