Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm Sad about the Weather

This is going to be one of the infrequent posts in which I discuss something that is not in itself a desirable activity - that is, being sad about the weather - but the activity of writing about it is good and valuable, if only to me.

Tonight I asked Drew to tell me what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, so that I could plan my work outfit.  He read me the forecast: 11 degrees C in the morning with rain, 20 in the afternoon and sunny, 15 at night.  I said thanks and turned around, and then started to feel sad.  Very sad.  As big fat tears rolled down my cheeks I turned back to Drew and said "I'm sad for the planet!  Isn't that weird?" and we both started to laugh, but I was still crying, because it really does make me feel so sad.

As I mentioned in my sock weather post, it's been warm here - unseasonably, freakishly warm, not for just a couple of days the way a "warm spell" would be, but for weeks, and for weeks to come if the forecast is correct.  This is a trend, not a spell.  It makes me so worried and distressed about what we've done to this planet's environment.  We've destroyed it, and are destroying it, and I fear very much for the animals and complex ecosystems that are sitting in a delicate balance, while humans run roughshod over everything.

Bert, Cedric, and Broo 
My anxiety about the environment has deep roots.  I've been aware of the threat that humans pose to the environment since I was old enough to comprehend kiddie cartoons - so let's say 4 or 5.  My favourite  cartoon when I was little is a relatively unknown Canadian show called 'The Raccoons'.  The raccoons were a group of three little animals who worked together and with two Old English sheepdogs to stop a baddie named Cyril Sneer, with the help of Cyril's nephew.  Cyril Sneer loved to chop down the forest and swim in gobs of gold coins, I think he had a big paper mill or something, and the raccoons were against that because chopping down the forest is bad.  This was just the beginning.

Next came Captain Planet, and the Planeteers.  When someone was harming the environment somehow, the planeteers combined their elemental forces - earth, wind, water, fire, and heart (a new elemental force I guess) - to draw forth Captain Planet, who was blue and could fly, and used the power of nature to thwart the greedy bad guys' plans to destroy the environment.

Captain Planet with the Planeteers
Then, towards the end of my kiddie-cartoon watching days, there was another Canadian cartoon called The Smoggies.  The Smoggies were disgusting, greedy, dirty humans who were always trying to dump oil into oceans or cut down rainforests, but they never got very far in their diabolical schemes because a group of oddly small creatures, named the Suntots (though they were not toddlers, or even children at all) were there to stop them.  The Suntots would find ways to hamper the Smoggies' efforts to ruin the planet, and could talk to dolphins and do cool stuff.

A collection of Suntots - as you can
see they're not kids!
Collectively, these cartoons ran from 1985 to 1996.  I was born in 1983, so from the time I was 2 until I was 13, these very environmentally-minded cartoons were taking up space and time on the TV, and effectively making me believe that recycling was super important, dumping anything that isn't salt water into an ocean is terribly bad and should be avoided, cutting down forests of any kind should be stopped, with particular emphasis on clear-cutting, and that we all had the power to stop the destruction of the environment.

I've believed those things seriously for my entire life.  I cannot, to this day, bear to put a recyclable object into a regular garbage bin.  When I was in Scotland this was particularly hard for me, because they didn't have individual recycling at houses and apartments like they do here.  Instead, there was one giant recycling bin per block, situated half-way down one of the streets.  I would religiously collect my recyclables into bags and schlep them down the street each week.  It was discouraging; not many people do things that take them out of their way.  The lazy option is the most frequently chosen in general.

That's been a tough lesson to learn, and learn again, and learn again, and again and again, all through my adult life; people are fundamentally lazy and will resist things that seem like too much work.  Governments especially operate this way.  Oh, so it's kind of tough to drive the oil from Alberta's tar sands to the harbour in Vancouver?  Let's build a huge pipe that travels straight through pristine old-growth forest and the last habitat of endangered Ghost Bears!  Yes!  It's SO MUCH EASIER FOR US.  And don't worry about what just happened with the Deepwater Horizon.  We would *never* let that happen in your beautiful, sacred, and delicate forest.


I'm upset about the weather, and about the fact that no Canadian government has done anything serious since 1985 to put the brakes on some of the most environmentally damaging and dangerous activities, which is so embarrassing  This country lags behind on everything, from upholding environmental protections to restricting carbon emissions.  It's disgusting.  We're paying for it now, with our 20 degree days in March, and we're going to pay more for it as each year passes.  It makes me so sad.

1 comment:

  1. Since I mention the proposed Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline, here's an article that's talking about another proposed pipeline, they Keystone XL. There are impressive stats here that I've never read before, which have reinforced my worry.