Like most Torontonians, I too enjoyed last year’s extended summer and unseasonably mild winter. Red peppers were still growing in my garden in late December and in early February; perennials were promising to bloom - again. I fired up my backyard BBQ in tee shirt and Jeans,, washed my car by hand in the scorching sun, and then suppressed the heat with an ice cold beer. “This is the life”, I mused. Dreadfully fearful of bone chilling winters, I wanted summer to last forever. Imagine for a moment, a land of perpetual sunshine, BBQ and beer. On my CD player the incomparable Louis Armstrong sang, “What a Wonderful World” and a wise old friend assured me that “within everything, life hard but it sweet”.
In February the ground is usually frozen solid and wintry winds force us to seek warmth in cocoons of down filled coats and heated places. Birds fly south, the roads become slippery, slushy and dangerous. Pedestrians walk in fear of falling while homeowners spend countless hours clearing impregnable snow-filled driveways to stave off lawsuits due to negligence. In this annual Canadian ritual, the lucky fall and brake bones while the less fortunate collapse in driveways and die from over exertion due heart conditions. At least in a land of everlasting summer, we won’t have to shovel the sun?
It is life’s comforts that some of us enjoy without regard for others that threatens to lead us to destruction. For even as I sip my beer and permeate the “hood” with the mouth watering aroma of BBQ chicken, I am mindful of the tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2003 wiping out entire villages and killing over 160,000 men, women and children. I am painfully aware of the devastating hurricane that struck New Orleans causing death and unprecedented human displacement in America since the Great Migration. I think of the numerous wars in Africa, fuelled by Multinational Corporations wanting unrestricted access to the mineral wealth of the continent at any cost. Too frequently we hear reports of “natural disasters” including major flooding in countries around the world, extreme heat on the one hand and ice storms on the other. Welcome to Global Warming.
Although Global Warming in not new, Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, drove home in living colour, the devastating impact that humans are having on the planet. David Suzuki have been raising environmental concerns for years, but nobody paid attention to the little Japanese man on the “Nature of Things”. Perhaps it’s because he has never contested the presidency of the United States. Be that as it may, the real issue is not the messenger but the message itself. Despite undeniable proof of impending doom, we continue to sow the seeds of our destruction through over consumption and an incomprehensible resistance to behavioural changes.
Those who have eyes will see that Mother Earth is dying. The future of the planet is in our hands. We know that the culprits include industry, poverty, greed and over consumption to mention a few. However, each of us must do our part to ensure that people and not cockroaches inherit the earth. We cannot continue this way.
As we honour mothers everywhere, spare a thought for the one who has sustained us for millions of years. Mother earth needs us now more than ever. How we respond to the crisis of Global Warming will reveal the kind of children that she bore. Will we make her proud or will she bow her timeworn head in shame because we failed to be our brothers’ keeper to our own detriment? There is still so much we have to learn. No Mama – No Die.
Happy Mothers Day.
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