Children of Children

23 Nov

The thought of climate change creating havoc, leaving an unbalanced ecosystem, and perhaps at some point in time, one last remaining animal, is very depressing. The unbalanced ecosystem will have destroyed food resources, and infrastructure in the developing world will have collapsed. Cars, pianos, houses, clothes, tables, computers, and dead bodies will be strewn across the streets amid floods and hurricanes and storms and earthquakes. Masses of humans will have become environmental refugees, but safe places of refuge will be too few and far between. Over time people will die of famine and poverty, disease and murder. At some point, there may be one last remaining animal. Not necessarily human, but at least one last remaining creature. It might not even be a mammal, or an amphibian or reptile. It might just be a jellyfish or some deep-sea creature. Nevertheless, the idea of only one living creature is a depressing thought. But facing depressing, or at least disturbing, frightening, and downright dangerous scenarios is necessary.

Star Wars. Batman. The Lord of the Rings. In picking out three of the highest-grossing Hollywood film franchises, there is an apparent common theme. It is one of heroism, where people in a state of danger or peril – not just to themselves but to all those around them – display unparalleled courage. The “heroes” exhibit self-sacrifice and place their own lives in danger – all in the hope of saving, esssentially, the world. In all three franchises, the heroes experience unimaginable terror, fear, danger, peril, sacrifice, and loss. That these themes appear significantly in popular culture suggest that heroism is of cultural value – at the very least – in North America, although heroism is even more prevalent in myths and fables, which exist in all cultures.

Yet there remains excessive apathy and opposition against any meaningful progress in sustaining life on earth.  There are two levels of opposition – one in which climate change is denied outrightly, and the other layer whereby the methods of dealing with climate change are hotly contested. Being that it is 2009, I simply have no patience for the former, given all of the scientific evidence accumulated to this date. As for the latter, well, at the very least, it’s on the right track. I would much rather have a raging debate between equally invested and interested parties than a large population of apathetic citizens or, as I like to call them, pathetic excuses for consuming food, occupying space, and sharing oxygen with my friends and I.

Through my ring of fire I throw those that do not demonstrate intelligence in making climate change a priority in their lifestyles or career, those that know of the importance but could not be bothered, and those that simply do not care. Perhaps the magic of hollywood is such that one really suspends disbelief during a film that they cannot take the morals and values out of them – the same morals and values that can be found in literature, in the fables that we read as children. The idea of heroism, of stepping up to the plate instead of cowering in the corner, appeals to most audiences in my estimation.

However, people appear to be so content with dragging their feet on the issue. Even if I were to throw out all of the science for a moment, one would think that even the selfishness would drive people to become engaged in sustainability. Have they no desire nor will to live comfortably? The luxuries found in North America will rapidly disappear in form or in the way they are delivered within the next decade – they already have, as reflected in food and gas prices. Has this no impact? Even the most crudely selfish person ought to preserve their luxurious (read: excessive) lifestyles by engaging in sustainability. No? What about the child-raising kind of person? Is it really so, that those that embody procrastination cannot find it in their hearts, when staring into their child’s eyes, the vital importance of sustainability? Even our very own children, for crying out loud.

From Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca) and Forest Ethics (www.forestethics.ca), two of the leading environmental groups in Canada, came Moms Against Climate Change, a group born out of the idea that the survival of our children is at stake.

Their campaign video can be found at http://www.takeactiononclimatechange.com, as well as YouTube.

This video is fantastically filmed and edited. The thought of children speaking up and protesting is a welcome juxtoposition. Against a backdrop of the melancholic – and appropriately selected, considering the lyrics – “Celebration Guns” by Canadian indie rock band Stars, the montage of children protesting ought to send alarms to adults of our irresponsibility. Perhaps it is the peroccupation that adults have with, well, their occupations, and other responsibilities, that they forget about sustainability, a decidedly future-oriented aspect. But the future is closer than we thought, as climate change worsens more than expected, and if the future is not secure, of what relevance are our daily duties?

Ironically, despite being less intelligent and less knowledgeable, it is children who can point out the obvious things which adults have overlooked. Children, being uninitiated with the struggles of our daily lives as we shuffle back and forth between stressful workplaces and stressful homes by way of stressful commutes, have the ability to see simple things for what they are. The equation goes like this: If the future, both near and far, are not handled carefully now, then nothing inbetween now and the “near future” will be of relevance. Giving up is not an option; that would be the equivalent of suicide, a result of mental disorder, of which I would not charge all of society. The only solution to this equation is complete focus and attention spent on sustainability across all industries and sectors.

Perhaps the only amendment I would make to the video is that a) many kids, even at their young age, have already figured out that which is so blatantly obvious, and b) the effects of climate change are happening now and and will increase exponentially in the next few years, so unless you are on your death bed, you should damn well be selfish enough to think, “hey, maybe I should do something afterall, even if I’m a douchebag and I don’t care about anyone but myself.”

The video tickles with the idea that, yes, if children knew of the grave situation we are faced with, they would be all over it like vultures on the last animal on earth. Humans need to step up to the plate and face the large headache of implementing sustainability across all industries and sectors in a proper manner. If not, pretty soon, there will be the death of the the last animal on Earth. Only then will sustainability not matter. Only then will danger need not be faced.

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One Response to “Children of Children”

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  1. Tweets that mention Children of Children « University of Waterloo Sustainability Project -- Topsy.com - November 23, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GlobalActionDay, Water Foundation. Water Foundation said: Children of Children « University of Waterloo Sustainability Project: … sustainability monitoring sustainability repor http://url4.eu/oJDA […]

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