Connect with us

Headlines

It’s time for climate-change defeatists to get out of the way

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are meeting in Katowice, Poland. The site is a southern city and the “heart of Poland’s coal country.” The conference was opened by David Attenborough, aged 92, natural historian, journalist, and—among many other credits—narrator of the BBC’s iconic Planet Earth series. Referring to climate change as “our greatest threat in thousands of years,” he concluded: “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

He’s not wrong. Those of us with our heads outside the sand and, well, outside of other places, know the warning offered by Attenborough to be serious and true. And we’re feeling it. Recently, we’ve started to talk about climate grief or ecological grief  or ecological anxiety more than we did before. Much more. People are having a hard time processing extreme weather and reports about what’s to come for them, those they love, their communities, their country and the world. They’re anxious. They’re depressed. They’re despondent. I’m one of them.

The rise of this anxiety and grief is bad for our mental health. It’s bad for our physical health. It’s bad for the economy. It’s bad for democracy. For years, the world’s most vulnerable people have been living with and suffering through the consequences of a changing environment, but now concern has reached a crescendo and we can all hear it—except for those who plug their ears and pretend the music isn’t playing. For those who aren’t cowards or selfish monsters or wretched social liabilities willfully closed off to the reality of imminent doom, the now-daily news about what’s coming is something we stare down in anger, frustration, hopeless, and even terror.

RELATED: Nobody should believe Canadian politicians who promise to fight climate change

It’s bizarre to be reminded day after day, in small ways and big ways, that the world you know and have known for years is falling apart. News of severe weather. Reports detailing the coming collapse. Primers on how to reduce your carbon footprint by changing your diet. Climate change becomes a routine conversation. It comes up at the bar. It comes up in class. It comes up at the holiday dinner table. It comes up while the guy at the counter prepares your takeaway. You start to feel it. You go to bed with it. You wake up with it. We’re moving slowly and we’re meant to be moving quickly. We know what’s coming is bad but we’re not sure just how bad—and then we hear about civilisational collapse. Some days, I don’t see the point of getting out of bed. Or working. I hear stories all the time about those who experience the same challenges.

This anxiety and grief are made worse by impediments to addressing the source of those feelings. We can’t address climate change with our fellow citizens standing in our way. We need climate deniers, defenders of the status quo, and those who throw up their hands and say “The hell with it, what can we do?” to move along so that the rest of us can save ourselves and future generations. Anyone who isn’t serious about getting over themselves and their fundamentalism (market, ideological, other)—ahem, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, short-sighted corporations, certain pundits and columnists—needs to step aside and make room for those of us who care about the future. It would be nice of those folks would get out of the way immediately. Or better, work with us. But the stakes are high. So, if they won’t do one or the other, then we ought to ignore, marginalize, and defeat them at the ballot box, in community centres, on the streets, and in the boardrooms. Wherever we must.

That means protests. That means lawsuits. That means trying to convince deniers or holdouts with our reasons. That means shouting them down at town halls if giving reasons fails. That means organizing against them to ensure that the parties who win power and the businesses that get our dollars are ones who are committed to saving humankind. That means demanding that those who say “but Canada is only a single, small country!…” to hold their tongues while we build a coalition of climate warriors. That means putting our words into the world and our feet onto the street. Our collective fate is at stake and therefore our options and our actions must be expansive.

RELATED: Why Saskatchewan is still holding out on the feds’ climate plan

We must avoid the impulse to hide away. In a world replete with opportunities for distraction—for me it’s video games, bad television and trips to Las Vegas—it’s easy to disappear, if only for a little while at a time. The ensuing cycle is predictable and rational and devastating: the growing existential threat of climate change alarms and depresses you and more; the failure of the world community of nations to address the threat compounds the worry, anger, frustration, and fear; journalists, authors, scholars, and others write about the mess and just how very, very, very bad it is and how bad we are at responding to it; you feel hopeless; then comes the deep anxiety or grief; then more hopelessness. Then you become demotivated (what’s the point of resisting or doing anything for that matter, since we’re goners?). Finally, the growing existential threat of climate change grows and becomes more alarming. Repeat until doom.

Facing the threat of climate change head on is now a moral imperative—and one we can better address through the lens of hopefulness. Before we set off to work, before we take on the tasks mentioned above, we must also commit to being hopeful that something can be done and that we can and will do it. Then we need to get at it with the fury and passion of believers.

Grace Nosek is a PhD student in law at the University of British Columbia. Years ago, I first heard from her about the importance of hope when talking about climate change. Recently, she argued that local, community action is essential to finding it. Local action matters. So do small, compounding actions. We need big actions, too. Structural changes by governments. Aggressive ones. The sorts of unprecedented actions you see towards the end of a blockbuster film about how we rally together to survive an alien threat—except for the enemy here is one we’ve created ourselves and can yet still defeat together.

Those of us in the conversation about our future must commit to action guided by hope, and supported by a commitment to personal and structural change. Overcoming climate anxiety and grief calls for a return to the close connections of community enhanced by the broader links of a networked society and backed by an unyielding commitment to action. It’s either that or rolling over and accepting death. Let’s choose hope and work.

MORE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE:

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Headlines

Students call on University of Ottawa to implement pass/fail grading amid pandemic

Editor

Published

on

By

OTTAWA — The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is calling on the university to introduce optional, one-course-only pass/fail grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students’ union said nearly 5,000 uOttawa students have signed its petition supporting the grading system.

In a letter to the university, the UOSU said it is asking the school to make changes to the grading structure, including allowing one course per semester to be converted to the “pass” or “satisfactory” designation.

The UOSU also made recommendations regarding a reduction of workload and course delivery.

“The adaptation to online learning during the pandemic for students has created unique challenges and disruptions that could not have been anticipated,” wrote Tim Gulliver, the UOSU’s Advocacy Commissioner. 

“The use of flexible compassionate grading options has been introduced in other universities, such as Carleton University which includes a use of Pass/Fail which we feel could be implemented at the University of Ottawa.”

Carleton University approved the use of flexible and compassionate grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms in early November.

The UOSU also called for all grades that constitute a fail to appear as “Not Satisfactory” on their transcript, which would not be included in grade point average calculations. 

The union represents more than 38,000 undergraduate students at the University of Ottawa.

In a response to CTV News, the University of Ottawa said it is aware of the petition.

“Last spring a decision was made by the (University) Senate to allow the Satisfactory/Non Satisfactory mark to be used, given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, which hit us close to the end of the Winter 2020 semester. The University is aware of the petition and is looking into the matter.”

Continue Reading

Headlines

OPP warn of phone scams in Ottawa Valley

Editor

Published

on

By

Upper Ottawa Valley OPP warn residents of a phone scam that’s been making its way through the region recently. 

Police say a scammer pretends to be from a local business and tells the person their credit card didn’t work on a recent purchase before asking the person on the phone to confirm their credit card number. 

The victim may not have even used the card at the store, but police said the scammer creates a sense of urgency. 

Police remind residents to verify the legitimacy of any caller before providing any personal information over the phone. 

Similar scams have been reported recently in the region, according to police, with scammers posing as police officers, Revenue Canada or other government agencies demanding payment for a variety of reasons. A Social Insurance Number scam has also been reported recently, where a victim is asked for their SIN number under threat of being arrested. 
 
If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded, you’re asked to contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

Continue Reading

Headlines

The human history of Ottawa Valley is thousands of years old. Archeologists may have found a piece of it on Parliament Hill

Editor

Published

on

By

OTTAWA—Archeologists working on Parliament Hill have discovered a relic of Indigenous life that one Algonquin leader sees as a symbol of his people’s long history in what is now the heart of Canadian political power.

The jagged stone point was unearthed last year on the east side of Centre Block, but its discovery was not publicized as officials worked with Algonquin communities to authenticate the object, the Star has learned.

Stephen Jarrett, the lead archeologist for the ongoing renovation of Parliament’s Centre Block, said this week that while such an object is “not an uncommon find,” the stone point joins just a small handful of Indigenous artifacts ever discovered on Parliament Hill.

“It’s about the size of my palm, and it could be used as a knife or a projectile,” Jarrett said this week in response to inquiries from the Star.

He said the point is made of chert, a type of sedimentary stone most often used for implements of this type. And while the point was unearthed in what Jarrett calls “disturbed soil” — earth that has been dug up and moved, most likely during construction of Parliament — the soil it was in “is natural to the site.”

That means “it came from a source nearby, but finding exactly where it came from is impossible,” Jarrett said.

For Douglas Odjick, a band council member responsible for education and culture with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, this artifact of “an original world” is a testament to the longevity of his Algonquin nation in an area they still claim as unceded and unsurrendered territory. Based on the assessment of Ian Badgley, the top archeologist with the National Capital Commission, Odjick said the stone point is likely 4,000 years old and dates to a time when the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau Rivers — along with all their tributaries that stretch out into the surrounding area — served as a great hub of regional trade activity.

“It symbolizes who we are and how long we’ve been here,” Odjick said, comparing the area to an ancient version of a busy hub like New York’s busy Grand Central Station.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending