Ancient Chinese employed a method of prolonged torture and execution known as lingchi. We also know it as Death by a Thousand Cuts. Humans are torturing the Earth by lingchi today.
Deforestation, destructive mining, industrialization, ubiquitous plastics, fossil fuel consumption, intensive animal farming, consumerism, and overpopulation would be on a list of human threats to the Earth.
In 2016, two Australian climate scientists published Mass extinctions and climate change:
We now know that greenhouse gases are rising faster than at any time since the demise of dinosaurs, and possibly even earlier.
… the present rate of climate change is too fast for many species to adapt: the next widespread extinction event might have already started.
Several abrupt warming events occurred between 56 million and 52 million years ago. These events were characterised by a rapid increase in temperature and ocean acidification...
These past warming events occurred without human influence. They point to the existence of positive feedbacks within the climate system that have the power to escalate warming dramatically...
Given that these feedbacks were strong enough in the past to wipe out a considerable proportion of life forms on Earth, there is no reason to believe that they won’t be strong enough in the near future, if triggered by sufficiently rapid warming.
Climate change deniers remain strong in 2022. Some earn that label by their words, others by their actions. Politicians who speak about protecting the environment, while approving actions to damage it, are the most dangerous. Their behaviour is deceptive. It aims to sooth concerns of people who have not yet learned almost all of peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that climate change is dangerous and mainly caused by humans.
The more attention we pay to science, the more concerned we should be about potential human extinction. Yet, most citizens of the world are preoccupied with day to day tasks. For many, influencing change is impossible and for others, resistance to altering lifestyles is strong, particularly among the richest and most powerful, who drive demand for extravagant luxuries.
Canadians who care about future generations are typically powerless. Long established political parties seek to maximize economic growth and obstruct electoral reform that could provide a platform to advocates for consequential change. Politicians and senior bureaucrat are ardent seekers of short term gains. Those are guaranteed career boosters.
Officeholders love GDP growth numbers, even though the measure ignores non-economic aspects of wellbeing.
We often see examples of perverse choices made by the people elected or appointed to protect the public interest. Contrary decisions happen at every level of government: local, regional, provincial and federal. One that caught my attention was from long time agricultural advocate and Richmond city councilor Harold Steves:
At a time when Severe drought threatens America’s farmers & food supply, Surrey, Metro Vancouver, and the Province of British Columbia enabled extension of the existing 1,900-acre North Campbell Heights commercial area to allow for construction of warehouses and industrial spaces. Instead of lamenting the loss of land suitable for agriculture, developer-friendly media that worships the GDP god reported this as a positive step because it facilitated economic growth.
Then we learned that Canada’s federal government is allowing another block of prime agricultural land to be paved with buildings and asphalt. That this may be the best farmland in the lower mainland doesn’t much matter where there is a short term gain to be realized. Profits before people, of course.
Tristin Bouwman, crop manager with Heppell’s Potatoes described the property, which is a few miles from the US border:
It’s some of the most productive and reliable land in B.C., and some of the most important.
Two years ag, a United Nations official reported 25 per cent of the world’s land has been rendered unusable, “threatening everything we eat, drink and breathe”.
Meanwhile, the Horgan Government continues to throw billions of dollars at Site C with plans to flood the best farmland in Northern BC, even though electricity could be made by alternative methods for one quarter or less of the cost that will be attached to power from BC Hydro’s favourite megaproject.
No one in an elected position of authority, except BC’s two Green Party members, is prepared to stand up for protection of the Earth, Decision makers are busily engaged in lingchi.
Categories: Climate Change