“Your blood pressure is up. Stop taking so many campaign promises with a grain of salt.”

By John Gibb

Political campaigns are designedly made into emotional orgies which endeavour to distract attention from the real issues involved, and they actually paralyze what slight powers of cerebration man can normally muster.” James Harvey Robinson (1863-1935)

What blend of fact vs. fiction will be served up to us during the coming Ontario election campaign? We all know that COVID-19 and its variants have delayed action addressing critical social and environmental justice challenges, including the climate crisis. The UN’s recent “Code Red for Humanity” report confirms that the opportunity for a middle ground climate response disappeared long ago.

Successive Canadian governments have for decades set carbon reduction targets while never yet devising a means to carry them out. Ever-increasing subsidies to the oil and gas sector directly conflict with Canada’s carbon emission reduction policies.

Big Oil knew long ago that we were headed for the climate crisis we now face and live with. They deliberately hid the results of their research that confirmed the direct causal relationships between atmospheric CO2 released during fossil fuel extraction, processing and combustion, and global warming. They then created and funded massive propaganda and lobbying campaigns that effectively confused the issue and “fuelled” climate denial.

The world’s fossil fuel addiction seems too lucrative for governments and corporations to move away from in time. Continued individualism coupled with predatory capitalism and captured regulatory bodies must be recognized as a recipe for disaster, and a roadblock to any timely civilized response to global warming and climate change.

As the blanket of fossil fuel pollution enveloping our planet continues to push global temperatures ever higher, many of us are frightened for our communities, for people around the globe, and for the world we leave our children. It’s easy to feel powerless ‒ that anything we do is insignificant against the causes of climate change.

Even the darkest cloud may have a silver lining, if only we take the time to look beyond the surface. As physicist Neil Bohr (1885-1962) once stated, “Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.” The climate crisis presents us with a major local and provincial case in point. We are required to let go of a wish to return to a past when weather was generally much less disruptive, destructive and predictable, and recognize that maintaining the status quo with minor adjustments is not a viable option.

The non-partisan Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign, promoting awareness on the climate crisis along with other environmental and related social justice issues, provides an overview of our individual and collective “silver lining” opportunities. For more information and ways to take action, see ontarioclimateemergency.ca How much of their Climate Action Plan do you support?

The provincial election on June 2 presents Ontario voters with an important opportunity. Let’s ensure that candidates for all parties are aware of and actively respect our voice as we call for truly effective and timely action for ourselves, our children, grandchildren, and good old Mother Earth.

Whatever the outcome when our votes are counted, it will be upon us to hold all elected politicians’ feet to the climate fire.

 “You can’t be neutral on a moving train!”  – Howard Zinn (1922-2010)