Friday, October 22, 2004

Saving the world, etc.

Yesterday the WWF released a report about how humans are using 20% more natural resources than the earth can produce, and describes the repercussions that we're already well aware of: decreasing biodiversity, increasing ecological footprint, overdependence on fossil fuels, and so on. This is so discouraging, especially when I see that Bush, the most environmentally unfriendly president in history, is likely to be re-elected, so the US (one of the worst offenders) is not going to change their ways any time soon. Even if you were to assume that the WWF is slightly biased, you know the numbers are still awfully high, and the evidence of climate change is everywhere.

We went to a talk in the evening by Jane Goodall in support of the Spirit Bear, and she had much to say on the topic of hope and making a difference. It was obviously meant to be inspiring, but didn't really help my pessimism. I have huge amounts of respect for individuals who go forth and make some noise and get things done, but I've never felt that passionate drive necessary to do it myself. I feel strongly about many issues, but not enough to really get deeply involved in an issue, and so then I feel guilty about that. And when it comes to taking on corporate powermongers whose existence depends on the continued destruction of the environment, I feel utterly useless. A donation here or there, and then I wimp out, even despite living in Vancouver, where activism is as common as rain.

But I felt much better today when I read that Russia has ratified the Kyoto treaty, thus breaking the stalemate and allowing the treaty to be implemented. That means something huge has shifted, and there will be some change. Not today, not tomorrow, I'm sure there'll be some weaselling out of some regulations, and it may be a while before we really see the effects... but it's a positive step on a large scale.

And in the meantime, while I may not be singlehandedly sallying forth to fight for an endangered species or a rare patch of bog, I try not to add to the problems too much: I avoid driving as often as I can, I shop locally, I recycle. This week I started collecting rainwater to use on my plants so that I use less tapwater. It's a drop in the bucket (so to speak!), and it's not going to save the world on its own, but I'm listening and so are a lot of other people. We'll see what happens.


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