Des Pensable (c) 2015
I was rather fortunate a few weeks ago to be selected to attend the Climate Realty Project Leader training session in Toronto Canada which was held two weeks ago. To be selected you had to be a reasonably hard core Global Warming activist or at least committed or influential enough to help stimulate Global Warming action in your home region. They probably selected me using the hard core criterion.
My selection set the scene for an interesting week in Canada and perhaps what some would call a brush with fame, the chance to hear Al Gore in action and get in a photo with Naomi Klein and David Suzuki. If you don’t know who these people are you must be living in an alternate reality.
These are some of the big guns of the North American Global Warming Action Team leading the troops in the media war to stop Global Warming against crazy suicidal denier zealots and brigades of fossil fuel loving authoritarian Canadian conservatives and US Republicans.
When I was organising the trip from Sydney to Canada, accompanied of course, by my lovely partner Joanne, I noticed that there was to be a massive Climate Justice rally in Toronto the week before the Climate Reality conference.
Being rather partial to protest rallies we decided to attend this one representing the Australian Greens, ACF, Lock the Gate, Stop CSG Sydney, Greenpeace Australia and 350.org (Australia) – yep it must have been the hard core criterion that got me selected.
The trip is a long one from Sydney to Toronto. It’s half way around the Earth and about 24 hours or longer flying each way. To while away the time I took a copy of Naomi Klein’s book called ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate’ which I had been trying to find time to read as it’s a rather formidable tome. As it turned out, I had the time to read it from cover to cover. It’s useful being a fast reader at times.
It’s very easy to understand why Naomi Klein titled her book as she did. From the first page she got straight into it. Humans and to be specific neo-liberal materialistic capitalistic greedy humans have upset the balance of Nature on our home world.
We are now altering the life support system of our planet to the extent that it is beginning to threaten all of the world’s species and coincidentally our civilization’s existence. In short we need to change our ways or commit millions of species and ourselves to extinction.
The beauty of ‘This Changes Everything” and the strength of her argument is that it is full of real world examples not scientific graphs or moral platitudes. Using her background as a journalist she has woven a powerful and compelling story of a smart ape civilisation leading up to the threshold of its potential demise through greed, ignorance and inaction.
She doesn’t waste time pleading for ratbag deniers, ignorant selfish conservatives, egocentric economists, money worshipping oligarch loving business flunkies or weak willed graft ridden sociopathic politicians to wake up to the reality of Global Warming. She believes the scientists have spoken, the evidence is in and it’s time to act.
She is targeting the progressive-leaning silent majority of normal Homo sapiens who might be sitting on the fence, living in mass media induced ignorance or waiting comatosely for someone else to do something. This is what she is saying very clearly and loudly.
WAKE UP! This is YOUR story, YOU are in it and it’s up to YOU to write the ending.
My decision to attend the Climate Justice rally and march was a good one and quite fortunate. Joanne and I turned up an hour early and stood around among the press gallery watching and listening to the rally organisers giving the press the reasons for the rally and plenty of time for photoshoots.
Both Naomi Klein and David Suzuki were there among many other Canadian celebrities whom I didn’t know and apologise now for not mentioning them and their contributions to the Canadian and world anti Global Warming movement.
As luck would have it I was standing right beside and just behind David Suzuki and holding up a Lock the Gate placard when the main TV news interviews and speeches started. The Lock the Gate sign was shown prominently on the Canadian news and countless Canadian viewers probably wondered what the hell it meant and possibly even who was the old guy wearing the Chinese commo hat.
Over the next hour about 10-15,000 ordinary people of all ages, from all walks of life turned up for a massive display of unity calling for action on Climate Change and Justice for all the people and particularly the first nation people affected by the destructive and divisive conservative neoliberal policies damaging the Canadian environment and society.
Joanne and I had ample opportunity to talk to dozens of Canadians and took lots of pix which are shown on our Facebook Pages. We agreed that they came over as no different to Aussies. They were ordinary people like those found in the marches in Australia who CARE about not just their city or state or country but about the world and all the people in it.
It was a great privilege for us to walk the streets of Toronto with these caring and loving people. It was thrilling to chant with them and call for action on Global Warming and Justice for all the people of Canada and the world that it is affecting right now.
The icing on the cake was when Naomi Klein appeared out of nowhere during the march and Joanne took a picture of me with her. We didn’t talk we didn’t need to, we were just two people marching with thousands united by the same humanitarian cause.
A few days later I attended the Climate Reality conference with about 500 others from many countries round the world. What a wonderful bunch of friendly people from all walks of life they were, all there committed to helping to change the world. These were not the glossy eyed zealots the right wing mass media would like to portray them as.
These were the people’s heroes, the responsible members of our human society that believe in the Science, the ones who understand the threat, the ones responding to the clarion call for action, the ones prepared to step forward and catalyse the changes needed to avert the dangers of catastrophic Global Warming.
They are also the vanguard of the changes we need to transform our world from the ‘greed is good’ extractivist economics that is destroying our home planet, to a more caring and biologically sustainable society living within the boundaries set by Nature, not the cheque books of greedy bankers and their sociopathic oligarchic cronies.
I sat around tables with people from Barbados, Chile, India, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, United Kingdom, and of course Canada. They are damn nice people, all of them and now friends. They are all determined to catalyse the changes the world needs. They all know it won’t be an easy job.
We spent two days listening to Al Gore and other Climate Realty speakers outlining the problems to be faced and how we might make a positive contribution to saving humanity. They were all pretty persuasive but I guess you could argue they were talking to the converted. I didn’t get a chance to meet Al Gore personally, perhaps another time.
The key thing we learned was that there is a myriad of like-minded people of all nationalities, cultures and faiths around the world who do believe that Global Warming is a real threat and is caused by human activity. They do care about the world, its people and all the species of animals and plants that exist only on Earth. They are determined to share their knowledge and experience and to unite in action to help fix the problem and we will.
While Joanne didn’t get to the Climate Reality conference she had a great time as tourist and managed to get to see Niagara Falls.
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