If They Can't Handle a Pandemic, They'll Never Tackle Our Real Problems

Two years and five waves reveal a dangerous pattern in the competence of Canada's provincial and federal governments as they struggle to balance the economy with the emergency.

At first, in the opening months of 2000, it was a "one and done" problem.  We go into lockdown, Covid takes the hint, and then we live happily ever after. We've been dancing to the vacillation of our "leaders" five times now. But, don't worry, when this fifth wave is over, we'll be fine.

This pandemic has left scars. We've drained our treasuries. We have watched our economies hobbled as the tap was repeatedly turned off then on then off.  We've discovered that our economies are not resilient, they're pretty fragile with their long and vulnerable supply chains.

What lessons have we been taught? What lessons have we learned? Not much. We're still where we were two years ago. We're still playing this by ear through a filter of wishful thinking. That's a lousy combination. We have not learned that vacillation is not an option. It doesn't work. 

Let's turn to a far more worrisome emergency, climate breakdown. That's a truly existential threat, not some body blow to the economy. It goes to the continued existence of our nations, our economies, and ourselves. It goes to the habitability of our overcrowded planet. We know we've got perhaps 20 years to fix this so what are we doing about it? We're building a pipeline. 

Climate breakdown requires one thing, just one. Mankind must learn to live in harmony with nature, our one and only biosphere. We have tried to tame nature to our wants and that hasn't worked. It has failed on so many levels - climate breakdown, the loss of biodiversity, resource exhaustion and depletion, overpopulation, crippling inequality, on and on and on. As we continue to deny the limits of our very finite biosphere these problems simply grow larger, more intractible. We're losing.

To avoid dealing with the real problems we resort to infantile solutions, magical thinking, gestural responses such as carbon taxes, stuff that might have worked in the 70s or the 80s but not today.

We struggle to defend the indefensible, the economy and perpetual exponential growth. We seek to perpetuate the very calamities that have so spectacularly failed us.

A new study shows that our modern economy is not only wrecking the climate, it's also poisoning us as individuals. 

There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050.

Of the nine planetary boundaries we've now crossed five.  Chemical pollution now joins global heating, destruction of habitat, loss of biodiversity, and excessive production of both nitrogen and phosphorus pollution with ocean acidification now approaching the "never exceed" limit.

We know the dangers. We know the necessary solutions. What we lack is the vision and will to end this self-harm. We know that we must move to renewable energy and abandon the fossil fuel economy. We know that we must abandon our neoclassic economic model and globalization and transition to a low-waste circular economy. Far more important is that we know what befalls us if we don't.


  1. I notice there are reports that there are some people, probably with more than a fair share of spare cash, that have purchased no longer needed missile silos which they are retrofitting to be their long term refuges when the situation on Mother Earth warrants. Others are building rockets to take them elsewhere.
    In the meantime most of us plebs are blithely going about our lives hoping that somebody else will solve the climate change problem.

    1. I read an article by a prof, a futurist at I believe NYU. His agent landed him a lucrative lunch gig at some swank club and so he busied himself preparing an address. When he arrived he discovered his audience comprised just three men, hedge fund managers and they weren't looking for an entertaining lecture.

      The three pelted this fellow with questions about social and economic collapse. They were the 'missile silo' type. They foresaw that, in collapse, money could become worthless. They worried about the threat from their own security, the armed muscle they looked to for protection and to defend the silo. What if their guards simply took what they had and either killed them or expelled them from their pricey refuge?

      As I remember it, the prof told them there was no way to avert the threat, they would ultimately be on their own.


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