April 17th, 2021

Youth need to use their vote in local elections to support progressive climate action


By Letter to the Editor on April 8, 2021.

Editor: As I read Dr. Michael E. Mann’s new book, The New Climate War, I was faced with a flood of accounts of climate denialism theories, political opposition to reasonable market-based climate solutions, and organized attacks of hypocrisy towards prominent climate scientists and spokespeople.
As a young environmental activist, it was an eye-opening encounter to the polarization that has been manifesting between fossil fuel and corporate advocates and progressives for much longer than I have been alive.
While Mann’s perspective is rooted in the American political battles, the climate wars are not lost on us in Canada. The recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada deeming carbon pricing as constitutional was widely disputed by political opponents. But as Mann explains, “…there is nothing intrinsically divisive or partisan about [carbon pricing] …market mechanisms for dealing with pollution actually have their origins in the Republican Party.” It is the other forces, such as fossil fuel interests and the funding of troll campaigns who are using “social media to advance the cause of denial, deflection, doomism, and delay.”
Individual action is important, but if we get caught up in the latest environmental and conservational trends, we will not slow the global climatic effects of continued carbon emissions.
As Mann concedes, “We should all engage in climate-friendly individual action. […] But don’t become complacent, thinking that your duty is done when you recycle your bottles or ride your bicycle to work.”
Strong policy leading to corporate accountability influences societal change, whereas lifestyle choices merely affect one individual.
Talking with others, I consistently hear, ‘I don’t know where to start.’ There are dozens of advocacy groups – many based here in Alberta – which can assist youth in their mission to lobby the government, speak on policy, or bridge conversations between fossil fuel and renewable interests. I represent the Climate Hub of Southern Alberta (CHSA), but regardless of personal affiliation, grassroots hubs and advocacy groups are working towards similar eco-goals. Find your people and invest in their efforts however possible.
With local elections fast approaching, the next action that we can take is demanding a climate-responsive municipal government.
New voters, this message is for you: consider using your vote to support progressive climate action.
Incoming councils will undoubtedly have the power to instill strong local climate policy and influence higher levels of government to follow suit. There is power at the polls.
During a recent presentation, I had the opportunity to ask Dr. Mann a few questions.
Especially in Alberta, I spoke of how young people have mounting concerns about the future of industry and job prospects as a direct result of climate change. Increasing digital trends- and the isolation of the global COVID-19 pandemic- have resulted in people turning to online forums or social media to voice these concerns and participate in the climate discourse. But even though individuals may support the climate cause, it can be difficult to extend their actions beyond social media. So how can we mobilize this online group and tap into their abundant energy?
Mann’s response was succinct; we need to use the digital space as a crossover to the physical space of activism.
We need to use networking opportunities and videoconferencing platforms to connect with people in our communities (and around the world) who have similar climate goals. We need to lift one another up, instead of engaging in polarized digital battles against the internet trolls. And we need to encourage our peers and colleagues to do the same. I understand – because I also struggle with – the pressures that make young people sit idle.
It has been a difficult year of navigating social justice, environmentalism, the pandemic, and racial reckoning- nevertheless finding personal ways to act to support these changes. But the evidence presented in Mann’s book, and by other local and international climate scientists, is undeniable. Young people deserve- no, need- to have a voice at the table.
To my youth peers: Reading climate literature such as The New Climate War is important for personal awareness, but true action only occurs when individuals band together and take action.
Consider supporting the work of local advocacy groups. Vote. And never stop pushing for the future we deserve.
Sydney Whiting
Lethbridge

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Dennis Bremner

Tell you what Sydney, give China and India and Russia the same pep talk and if they come around and stop then I am sure the rest of us will join in on “Destroying Canada’s Economy First”. So get the young people of those three major emitters to stop polluting and make sure you have a band of lawyers to try to get them all out of jail as they disappear from the planet trying to curb GHGs.
Shaming these countries does nothing, so if it makes your plea work for you, you have Trudeau who will kill western economies to make your point for you. Trudeau’s belief is if we can kill .08% of Western Canada’s emission then he meets the target by 2050 and Ontario and Quebec can continue to pollute as they wish. Yes there will be symbolic projects to keep Eastern Canada appear they are moving on Global Warming but it will be Symbolic. All Trudeau really has to do is shut down the West and he is a Planet Saving Guru in his own mind.
When you have achieved Nirvana and gotten rid of the .08% that Alberta and the West Contribute to GHGs, you will find that the three biggest emitters are at least .08% higher. So as long as you know the only thing you can achieve is to kill the Western Economies and you are not actually saving anything, and you can live with it, do what you feel you must do.
I am not one to suggest to do nothing, but if you cannot get the three largest emitters to move, then you are saving nothing, and if you think setting a moral standard works, ask Putin who just signed into law that he can run for two more 6 year terms, and poisons his opposition with Novichok or, Xi Jinping if he would stop torturing/suppressing people, to “save the planet” and see if you get a response.
My bet is you are a “save the planet person”, right? Do you have a cellphone? Here is where your cellphone comes from “remember saving the planet starts with you” https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth
Oh and if you are wondering why there are not more recent reports on the disaster in Baotou, This is one of many sites like this that produce all the metals for your phone computer, windmills, solar panels and Electric Vehicles. It makes Fort Mac look like a Disney Playground, There are no recent reports on Baotou because the Chinese did not like the bad publicity and are not allowing reporters there anymore. If you can’t see it, its not there, right?
To do your part, perhaps, do away with all your polyester clothes, or anything made from oil, plastics vinyls etc. Then throw out all your computer items including the digital thermostat that controls the furnace. Hmmm Furnace, buy a wood stove….crap uses trees, and pollutes….buy a Nuclear Reactor to heat your home and design a skateboard that can be used in the winter because both your EV and your Combustion Engine vehicles contribute to Chinese Pollution. Ever wonder why every environmentalist minimizes the contribution of 10s of thousands of aircraft per day, delivering CO2 into the upper atmosphere? They don’t want to walk!
I congratulate you on your spunk and drive to do better, but reality truly sucks when confronted with it, doesn’t it?
The Politics- Just remember this important part. If Trudeau can get re-elected and he can kill Western Economies like his daddy did. Then he will meet the 2050 target and not even singe the hair on the Quebec/Ontario bastion of Liberal Support. We contribute about 1.5% GHGs in Canada. If he did away with the majority of the .08% Alberta/Sask contribute allowing others to drive their cars, then he would reduce GHGs by about 50% by 2050. Strategic or real concern for the Planet, you decide.
PS I am not a denier, I am a realist, the sooner Environmentalist/Save the Planet people confront their own flaws, in their own theories of things Planet Saving the quicker the Deniers will fall into a “Real Attempt in saving the planet”. For as long as you “deny” that Digital World Baotou does exist, and that your proposed solutions are not as bad as the existing problems, then we all have problems!

Last edited 8 days ago by Dennis Bremner
Seth Anthony

Dennis said, “I congratulate you on your spunk and drive to do better, but reality truly sucks when confronted with it, doesn’t it?

Nailed it.

I would consider myself to be an environmentalist, but from what I’ve seen most environmentalists have little to no idea how energy production works, let alone how the world works. I’d even go as far to say that most of them have their head up their you know what. Ever seen videos conducted with them? They are absolutely clueless. Here’s an idea for the environmentalists: Know what you’re talking about before you start lecturing people.

Last edited 9 days ago by Seth Anthony
Dennis Bremner

Agreed. Most do not know what “stable power” is in a grid. They just assume if they have enough windmills and solar, that storage will do the rest. Never will happen. So when you propose the only solution to coal,NG etc plants, as Nuclear, they suddenly do not want to save the planet any longer!

Seth Anthony

Ask an environmentalist about nuclear energy and you’ll either see a shocked look on their face, or they’ll spout all sorts of ignorant and erroneous statements about nuclear. That’s one way to know they have no idea what they’re lecturing people about.

When it comes to practical sources of CO2 free energy sources, all educated environmentalist papers and energy expert papers include nuclear energy near or at the top of the list. Even the “evil” lol Bill Gates says nuclear energy should be an essential part of the plan.

Last edited 9 days ago by Seth Anthony
buckwheat

So hey there Syd, just what are we progressing to. What is the end goal.

Seth Anthony

Given how many times that book was mentioned, I’d say the end goal was to advertise that book.

buckwheat

Good one Seth. Heard this book had a bit of fiction in it though. Seems the esteemed Mr. Mann in doing his famous “hockey stick” graph left out the Medieval Warming Period data and the Little Ice Age data. 🤷‍♂️

Fescue

A very good letter, Sydney.
It’s no wonder, given the responses, why we have done nothing to address the climate crisis for the past thirty years, despite the solid science. It goes to show, in these comments, that you don’t have to read any books or stay informed with the climate science to have an opinion or try to shift the blame on other people. The denialists will be nothing but an embarrassing footnote, should modern civilization survive the next thirty years.
More to your letter, I also thought Michael Mann’s book was well written, and reinforced the urgency to act definitively and act now. And I’m so pleased to see the young adults, who will bear the full burden of our inaction, beginning to stand up for their future. Keep going!

Seth Anthony

Excuse me while I barf.

Socrates

Dear Syd
You are a gifted youth to whom I owe to offer compassion, understanding, and some guidance. On my side I am an aged scientist who has spent the last 40 years trying to understand the scientific problem of Earth Warming or Cooling.
I have also spent time trying to understand people and justify their actions. I am sad to tell you that my generation has let you down and whish that I had some more pleasant news to give you, except for my apologies.
The root cause of humanity’s climate crisis problem today can be explained as the most complex, difficult, and chaotic scientific problem that humanity has ever encountered. It is very complex and even specialists in the field have not been able to come to even a partial agreement.
On the other hand people like you try in earnest to connect the “dots” of the information they get. So far so good, except that you have no way to know how many dots you are missing.
One of the many observations I have made during the past 32 years is that people like Dr. Mann when confronted for scientific errors he made, or for predictions he made that have not proven truth, he runs away screaming “denier”. Yet, every logical person would think that he should, if he could, instead explain the scientific reasons behind his beliefs. As a result, people like you are deprived from a significant amount of “dots” to consider in your logical process of connecting them.
I will give you here only one example – the simplest – of the many fundamental scientific questions (“dots”) that have not been answered by the alarmist scientists: There are some 20 different mechanisms that influence the Earth’s temperature. The latest one was discovered few years ago. One of these mechanisms is the CO2 GHG effect. Now, as we learned from Sherlock Holms, one has to run up all the suspects (mechanisms) and go through an elimination procedure before making an arrest. Yet, The UNIPCC has ignored most of these mechanisms and focuses only on the anthropo-genic CO2……because this is their incorporation charter…….. That alone should tell you that something is wrong here and you don’t want to go and lecture others, before you have it clarified.
Deep inside computer models I found a plethora of convenient assumptions that would help the modelling programs run, although the science behind these assumptions were either ridiculous or contradict laws of basic physics.
I will close here by letting you know that your lecturing of others, although intended to solve a problem, you end up becoming the problem. If you really want to solve the climate crisis problem find a way to organize a public debate between “Alarmists” and “Skeptics” and sit there taking notes and collecting a great number of “dots” that you are missing now.

Seth Anthony

Sydney,

You’re obviously an intelligent person, but intelligence does not necessarily equate to wisdom. Wisdom is thinking objectionably, rationally, and outside of the box. Most importantly, wisdom is understanding, but not necessarily agreeing with, the opposite of your beliefs and convictions.

Dennis, Buckwheat, Socrates, and myself have given you excellent information to research and think about. “Pie in the sky” Fescue on the other hand, prefers that you remain in an incense and peppermints box 🙂

Last edited 8 days ago by Seth Anthony


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