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Posted: October 12, 2019

There’s a clear choice in this miserable election

“Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

So, it’s down to the wire and I’m itching to vote but the candidate I want to vote for is unavailable. It’s a cruel world for people like me. Probably millions of others too because as Canadians we can’t vote for a foreigner.

I’m sure you’ve figured it out.

Yes, I’m one of those that if given a ballot with Greta Thunberg on it I would put a big “x” beside her name and on any other ballot with her name. That would get me disqualified, of course, but the fact is our planet Earth is in grave danger of being disqualified because of the rampant greed, apathy and destructiveness of Western Industrial Civilization that provides wealth beyond imagining to many of us, but at a price that’s infecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the habitat that nurtures us, a habitat we’ve been abusing since the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the silicon chip.

Quit reading now if you want. As they say, ignorance is bliss. Or as Hippocrates put it: “There are in fact two things, science and opinion. The former begets knowledge; the latter ignorance.” And yes, I’m saying if you don’t believe global warming is a reality that’s changing our climate at warp speed, you’re basking in terminal ignorance of what’s happening in front of your eyes.

I’m not saying you’re stupid. You may, in fact, be highly intelligent, but for reasons mentioned above – greediness, apathy and destructiveness – you’re part of the malaise that’s destroying the planet that’s given you – and the rest of us – so much.

When are you going to get it?

Former US President Barack Obama gets it. Obama met Thunberg in September after she crossed the Atlantic in a non-polluting, solar-powered boat to address the UN in New York. It was a heart-tugging, almost bizarre scene with the slight, 16-year-old, waif of an activist sitting across from the once most powerful man in the world with more than 108 million Twitter followers.

“No one is too small to have an impact to change the world,” Thunberg  told the former president. Clearly impressed, Obama commented; “Just 16, Greta Thunberg is already one of the planet’s greatest advocates.”

US President Donald Trump tweeted about the teenaged, Swedish activist after she spoke to the UN General Assembly Climate Summit, but didn’t share Obama’s sentiments and was at his vulgar best commenting on Thunberg. “What an actress! I should be in school. She’s getting the best education socialism can steal,” bellowed Trump of the climate crusader who motivated millions of students including students in Cranbrook, Kimberley and Fernie to go on a one-day climate strike to force politicians and industrial leaders to take real action on climate change.

As UN delegates slunk in their desks, glum Greta passionately scolded them. “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words… People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of economic growth. How dare you?”

Phew! Have you heard eloquence like that from Justin Trudeau or Andrew Scheer in this wretched election? Of course, you haven’t. They’re too busy being “on message” – a message that has precious little to do with the perilous state of Mother Earth. But you don’t have to be in New York to realize this. One look at the logging clear-cuts denuding our valley from Cranbrook to Golden makes it obvious that we’ve cut too many trees and dozens of mills are closing because of our greed.

Yes, we do need resource industries like logging, mining, farming and the like. But do we have to exploit these resources at such an unsustainable rate? Can we not manage these resources in such a way that they will still be around for our children and grandchildren? Can’t we think beyond the next election cycle?

That’s why in this election I’ll be voting for Mother Earth. Without a healthy planet, none of the other issues really matter. If a mere child has to lead us, then so be it!

– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who wonders if voting makes things better or worse.

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