ere is part of a World Changing
piece which calls for a Green Enlightenment
What right have we in rich industrial countries to use up the last of the relatively accessible oil and gas for our luxurious lifestyles? What right have we to leave the planet overheated and the oceans rising, with badly depleted natural resources, declining biodiversity and increasing pollution?
We don't, and we have now to start thinking and planning for the benefit of these future generations. We need a comprehensive plan for climate change, with targets and dates for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The mere 5½% reduction envisaged in the Kyoto Protocol
is surely too small. Whether the reduction
needs to go as far as the prodigious 90% George Monbiot claims in his book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning
, is not clear. But we need to set goals in accordance with need, determined by the best science available, not what is easy and unobjectionable to do.
But change of the scope needed will require a major "paradigm shift," for which we will have to re-examine our values, beliefs and expectations for lifestyle. And so far, governments have failed to give leadership. (snip)
All this will require careful work. Citizens can help start the process by setting out a framework for a climate change plan. The fine tuning can only be done in concert with government departments and technical experts, but citizens can and should lead.
Town hall meetings and "think-ins" at universities, colleges and community meetings could help to spark ideas and promote citizen involvement. Professional associations, faith communities, First Nations, unions, all kinds of voluntary organizations, should be asked to draw on their particular experience and expertise. We have a long way to go to, but there is now a growing consensus that fundamental change is needed.
The Earth Charter
is a good example of citizen-initiated thinking, with a call to new ideas and practical action. (clip)
The 18th century Enlightenment
aimed at reforms political, economic, cultural, legal, scientific and technological. So must The Green Enlightenment
now called for. And, unlike the case of that earlier time, we do not have two further centuries in which to make the changes envisaged. For climate change we have to act now. Fortunately, with technological change speeding up communications and collaboration, we have that capacity
.....Lynn McDonald, Professor Emerita at the University of Guelph
I know we have the capacity.
If we will just reflect on our condition.