Friday, November 22, 2019

The Future of Green

The Future of Green

I have been a member of the green party for over 20 years.  I joined because of the party platforms, only the green party platform offered a sustainable plan for the future.

The party is again at a crossroads.  We have had a strong period of growth under a dynamic leader.  We will now be choosing a new leader for the next few years.  We will be choosing the future of the party.

The canard that “it is the economy, stupid,” is self-evident.  No-one who runs for public office has succeeded, nor will they, ignoring the economy, our economy, the way we live and want to continue living.

But ignoring the environment is a recipe for suicide.  The economy cannot operate, does not operate outside the environment.  Rather it is the other way around, the economy operates, can only operate, within the environment.  Without a healthy environment, and the services it provides, our economy cannot exist, we cannot exist.

Yet this is what all the other parties offer: the economy takes precedence over the environment.

Collectively, we have seen this time and time again over recent history.  We added lead tetraethyl to petroleum to reduce a “knocking” problem with internal combustion engines.  The poison spread everywhere, and is found in Arctic and Antarctic snows.  We used methyl and ethyl halides as refrigerants and found that they destroyed our protective ozone shield.  We applied chemicals to our fields and swamps to reduce the inconvenience caused to us by insects, and nearly obliterated peregrine falcons.  We have spread neonics in a further attempt to manage insects that reduce the productivity of our field crops, and in the process may have eliminated not only those insects and our essential bees, but the birds that depend on them.

We have spread unnatural fertilizers on our fields to encourage the productivity of our crops, without realizing the loss of natural fertilizers it has caused and without realizing the effect of runoff on our rivers, lakes and oceans.  We continue to burn fossil fuels with little apparent regard for the growing warmth of the planet.  We have installed sanitary sewage systems that have resulted in the discharge of hormones used in the treatment of our diseases that are causing havoc to the reproductive success of the fish in our rivers.  We have released tons and tons of other “new” chemicals because we knew no better.

We have introduced chemicals into the environment without regard to their spread.  We are seeing loss of male sperm; we are seeing people with extreme environmental sensitivities and do not know what is causing their symptoms.  We have no idea what the long-term effect of the countless particles of rubber worn from our tires will be, nor of other maybe better known micro-plastics.  We are planning further introduction of wireless networks without understanding the nature of their impact on the natural world.

I expect we will continue to see this unless we discover and promote ways to sustain ourselves without destroying the environment, without adversely affecting it as well as our own health.

The way we live is central to our survival on this planet.  We all want to continue to enjoy a satisfying and stimulating life.  We want to be able to travel great distances.  We want to be able to go shopping at the drop of a pin.  We want to be able to go to the theatre or a movie or a hockey game.  We want to be able to take our children to exercise classes or horse back riding.  We want to run and manage the companies that enable our lifestyles.

But we cannot do these things sustainably if we continue to poison our environment by everything that we do.

This is a key message of the green party, one that we need to turn into a recipe and program for our survival.

But this message has not become mainstream.  We do not have a platform, nor a presentation that resonates with Canadians, other than the hard core 6% environmental fringe.  We have not had the breakthrough into contention as a provincial or national government.  The green message is still in left field.  We did well in 2019, but as a percentage of the popular vote we did better in 2008.  

In choosing a new leader, we need to be fully aware of the consequences of choosing a successor to Elizabeth.  We need someone with her political and media savvy.  We need someone who is fluently bilingual to ensure continuing to hold on to this country.  We need someone who has an environmental track record equal to that of Elizabeth.

We also need someone who is cooperative and able to hold a disparate and at times dysfunctional green party together.  I also suspect we need a leader who is independently wealthy since you cannot forego a career to sustain the life-changing peregrinations of the leader of a national political party, particularly one with limited resources.

We need a leader who can make our platform palatable with Canadians.  Without it the Green Party of Canada will continue to be an also-ran.  And our existence on this planet will be seriously in question.