It can be a green world after all

The idea that we see what we look for is an easily demonstrable proposition...

The idea that we see what we look for is an easily demonstrable proposition.

Ask people to spend one minute listing all the brown things they see around them. They’ll hurriedly scan around, mentally latching onto details, and quickly create a list of perhaps a dozen or so items.

The trick to the experiment is then to ask them what green things they saw. After some expressions of, “You didn’t ask for that!” or “You fooled us,” those involved usually admit they can recall only one or two items. They saw plenty, but noticed only what they looked for.

The same principle holds for more serious affairs. Thinking about the seemingly intractable problem of human-caused global warming, it is easy to become depressed, very fast. Humans are still throwing greenhouse gases into our atmospheric “sewer” like there’s no tomorrow, about a thousand tons every two seconds.

Based on more and better climate research, scientists keep pronouncing sterner warnings for an apocalyptic future. Their latest report was published only recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

If one bypasses the usual vitriolic commentary exchanged on blogs and news source comment lists, and goes directly to the source documents available on the IPCC web-site (www.ipcc.ch), one can judge for oneself the seriousness of their findings.

The physical science basis of the report comes from over 209 scientists from 32 countries, and 50 editors reviewed their work. Their website includes explanations of how these people compiled the report, and what evidence supports their conclusions. Key findings include: Warming is unequivocal. Changes are unprecedented. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed. Snow and ice have diminished. Sea level has risen a minimum of 0.19m over the last century. Ice sheets have been losing mass. Further uptake of carbon by the ocean will increase ocean acidification. Human influence on the climate is clear. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries, even if emissions of CO2 are stopped.

“Science” purchased by carbon-intensive industry funders continues to bleat contrarian opinion, but about 97 per cent of published scientific studies on this subject confirm the IPCC’s findings. Serious researchers are becoming increasingly angry at the misrepresentation of their work by incompetent frauds.

Oddly enough, if 97 per cent of medical opinion suggested a person had cancer and needed a specific treatment, it’s highly unlikely he would ignore medical advice. For some bizarre reason, huge numbers of the public ignore this logic in the climate “debate.”

One could become very depressed. Lots of brown is on the horizon. One sometimes imagines few among us care much about the climate change issue. However, this depressing assumption is demonstrably false if one examines the way that business is beginning to react, way ahead of the average citizen.

Responsible business leaders understand only too well that climate change poses enormous risks to their (and our) ongoing success. Www.environmentalleader.com posts articles, day after day, outlining corporate actions worldwide to lower carbon footprints and to become more sustainable in operations. Aside from benefiting global society (public good) they are saving a lot of money (private good) in the process.

Carbon disclosure scores rank companies by industry according to their senior managements’ understanding of business issues related to climate change and to climate risk. For example, world purchasers of cotton (clothing manufacturers) understand that climate change is already impacting cotton production by creating water scarcity and drought in growing areas. High scoring companies include BMW, Nestlé, Spectra Energy, Swiss Re, Bayer, Siemens, Microsoft, BASF, and many others. Swiss Re (a major global reinsurance company) argues that transition to a low carbon economy is not an option; it’s a necessity.

In other good news, Scientific American reported just last July that global renewable electricity will reach nearly 25 per cent of global production by 2018. Data indicate that U.S. businesses can save up to $780 billion over 10 years by reducing GHG emissions by an average of 3 per cent annually. The carbon lobby may own many of our politicians and media outlets, but increasingly, business understands what is at stake: a livable and profitable future.

Examine the evidence. There’s lots of brown out there. But let’s look for the green, too, and perhaps colour a few things that way.

Al Lehmann is a retired English teacher living in Terrace, BC.

 

Just Posted

Participants of the Indigenous-led agricultural training program pose for a photograph with the staff at Tea Creek Farm in Kitwanga. (Photo courtesy, Alex Stoney)
Indigenous-led food sovereignity program trains first cohort in Kitwanga

Tea Creek Farm trained participants from northwest B.C. First Nations

The Red Chris open pit mine approximately 80 km south of Dease Lake. The province and Tahltan will start negotiations on the first consent-based decision-making agreement ever to be negotiated under DRIPA with regards to two mining projects in northern B.C. (Newcrest Mining photo)
B.C. to begin DRIPA-based negotiations with Tahltan First Nation on two northwest mining projects

Negotiations on Red Chris and Eskay Creek mines to commence soon in accordance with Section 7 of DRIPA

Columnist Steve Smyth (File photo)
One for the road: Columnist Steve Smyth signs off

After nearly 60 years of residency, this will likely be the last… Continue reading

The site of the new Mills Memorial Hospital project in Terrace on June 18, 2021. The provincial government is so far choosing not to comment on suggestions a new Mills Memorial Hospital will now cost in excess of $600 million. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
Province silent on Terrace hospital construction cost

Health ministry urges citizens to stay tuned

The City of Terrace is setting up a town hall meeting to address the ‘crisis’ in the downtown area. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace council declares crisis in downtown

City staff are in the process of setting up town hall meeting

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read