Someone put one over on me this morning. A gentle joke. Perhaps you were the victim or perpetrator of a spoof today. On this, of all days, I might have been more vigilant.
We’re always trying to figure out what information to believe. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), just came out with it’s latest report. The report is much more direct than earlier ones about climate change and its consequences.
But a quick glance at, say, reports on Earth Hour observance last Saturday shows how deep and scornful is the resistance to this great threat to the world as we know it.
Toronto apparently experienced a six percent drop in electricity demand during the hour. Walking around that evening in our neighbourhood, it was clear that darkened houses were in the minority, perhaps one out of every five or six by my count.
The sceptics I read questioned both the validity of climate change science and the possibility of something such as Earth Hour doing anything about our energy use. Is the IPCC just pulling a big, multi-decade April Fool’s joke on us all? No.
These are serious scientists working away in separate disciplines, all coming to the same conclusion in thousands of studies—that our carbon emissions are already having a noticeable effect on climate, crops, sea levels, severe weather occurrences, human security and more.
I believe them when they say we have to alter our present practices, and also begin to ease the effects of climate change on those already sufferings its ravages. The question for me is, how do we get that change, especially those nations presently basing their economies on fossil fuels?
In Lent, Christians are looking hard at how they are doing in their individual lives and the big picture. It could be that many, many concerned citizens can put pressure on law makers to change our patterns of energy use, who we subsidize, how we reward those who conserve and so on.
Corporations, including insurance companies, are already figuring the costs of climate change into their strategic plans. (“How can we make and sell bottled drinks in India, for example, if affordable fresh water is becoming scarce there?” “How high to we have to put insurance rates if flooding in one province, Alberta, in one season alone cost $6B?”) Perhaps they will be an influence on decision makers.
It’s no joke. Humor may be a way to get our reluctance to see and hear what’s happening all over the world, though. Humankind has never had a situation like this. Churches, mosques, temples, schools, book clubs, unions, political parties, neighbourhood associations—it will take all of us, I’m sure.
A six percent drop in hydro for an hour is not the answer, of course. But anything that raises awareness of the issue helps. Next steps? That’s up to all of us.