I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ethics and Climate Change (First Posted Dec. 15, 2009)

Climate change is a fact.  Look outside your door in the Interior of BC  at the pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle and climate change.  Look at the loss of permanent sea ice in the Arctic.  Ladakh villagers building dams to save their glaciers.   Kenyans perishing of starvation.  Polar bears eating their own young .  Glaciers that have vanished.  Temperature data (no, not all data was produced through CRU at East Anglia)  showing a relentless upward trend line.  The early arrival of spring.

And then consider who climate change will impact most in the future.  Asian rivers like the Indus, Ganges, and Yangtze may dry up as the Himalayan glaciers melt - leaving more than a billion people  without water for their crops.  The Maldives and other low lying Pacific atolls may vanish. Starvation caused by drought will decimate Africa.  Most of the damage will be in places other than Canada.  Most of the toll will be on future generations of poorer, browner people.

Cutting down and phasing out greenhouse gas emissions is a matter of intergenerational and social justice.  No economist or climatologist can tell us what to do based upon their data: however, they can recommend a course of action. We, as a community, then decide what to do based upon  our values.

What are our values?  Facing a crisis of monumental proportions, what course of action should we take?  What kind of society do we want?

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