Oct 15 2007

Our sustainability woes are no science fiction

I’m still astounded and disappointed by the defensiveness of some Canadian Conservatives whenever someone mentions global warming. After all, Conservatives ought to be embracing green issues, if only for crass political advantage.

Mind you, most BC-based Conservatives seem to get it, but east of the Rockies, environmentalists’ popularity is inversely proportional to the amount of revenue Alberta extracts from its tar sands.

Vancouver technology blogger David Drucker touches on the issues of sustainability in fascinating post on one of Isaac Asimov’s early influences, science fiction writer Lawrence Manning. The description of the 1933 story “The Man Who Awoke” is a reminder that long before the words greenhouse gases were even part of our vocabulary, North Americans were well aware of the environmentally-unsustainable nature of their lifestyles.

You don’t have to be green to save the ice caps. Just maintaining some fair measure of our own quite comfortable modern lifestyle within a paradigm of sustainability seems like a good enough reason to go green.

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19 responses so far

19 Responses to “Our sustainability woes are no science fiction”

  1. on 16 Oct 2007 at 12:23 am

    I dunno… in some ways Vancouverites are a lot less ‘green’ than their Ontario cousins despite what you may think.

    One major issue that has always boggled my mind is that you don’t pay per volume water consumed. In Vancouver we only pay a flat rate, whereas in S.Ontario (surrounded by the Great Lakes) we pay per volume. Such policies discourage excessive consumption.

    On the other hand Vancouver does have an excellent public transit system. Much better than any other major city I’ve lived in/visited in Canada. And many people seem genuinely interested in living environmentally friendly lifestyles. Whereas in Ontario we’re environmentally friendly because it is cheaper to be.

  2. on 16 Oct 2007 at 1:47 am

    The Vancouver system isn’t very good, but the roads aren’t very good either. Meanwhile in Ontario we’ve made good enough roads that our public transit system looks bad in comparison.

    (By the way I also endorse environmentalism (as long as i don’t have to eat granola) out of principle)

  3. on 16 Oct 2007 at 2:22 am

    Well, maybe I’m speaking for myself there about the cheaper bit. But I know many people who have been ‘environmentally’ conscious for years because of the price of hydro, gas and water.

  4. on 16 Oct 2007 at 2:38 am

    Already we have suffered mass starvation because of a population explosion. We have poisoned ourselves with pollution and insecticides. We have suffered mass starvation again because of a new ice age. Our economies have collapsed because we ran out of oil by the year 2000. Our economies collapsed because we ran out of other natural resources before 2000. There is obviously no problem since there are only a few thousand humans left alive who are huddling in caves and subsisting on nuts and berries.

    There Club of Rome used to come out with an end of humanity prediction every year. Perhaps they still do. The difference might be the conservatives east of the Rockies are a little better at separating science from science fiction.

  5. on 16 Oct 2007 at 2:51 am

    Jonathon, I’m one to say I believe global warming is exacerbated by man, and I think it is prudent to take measures to curtail it. I find it confounding that so many conservatives are opposed to the measures that even people like Stephen Harper and George Bush are advising. When you can’t even meet the green requirements of skeptics like John Howard, you’re either blindly partisan or else believe so strongly that the science is wrong, that you take on a sort of environmental evangelicalism.

  6. on 16 Oct 2007 at 4:55 am


    So what you are saying is that we must change our way of life every time some goof ball comes up with a disaster scenario?

  7. on 16 Oct 2007 at 5:38 am

    Southernontarioan – Excellent points. There’s certainly no contradiction between green sustainability and keeping more cash in your wallet.

    Raphael – I couldn’t have said it better.

    Jake – I think the point of my post is that many North Americans realized we need to change our way of life as far back as 1933.

  8. on 26 Oct 2007 at 10:18 am

    cWxNKY Your blog is great. Articles is interesting!

  9. on 26 Oct 2007 at 6:10 pm

    nvXaIK Nice Article.

  10. on 26 Oct 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Good job!

  11. on 26 Oct 2007 at 7:49 pm

    Wonderful blog.

  12. on 27 Oct 2007 at 7:25 pm

    actually, that’s brilliant. Thank you. I’m going to pass that on to a couple of people.

  13. on 27 Oct 2007 at 8:13 pm

    actually, that’s brilliant. Thank you. I’m going to pass that on to a couple of people.

  14. on 28 Oct 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Please write anything else!

  15. on 30 Oct 2007 at 6:28 am

    Wonderful blog.

  16. on 30 Oct 2007 at 9:41 am

    Wonderful blog.

  17. on 30 Oct 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Hello all!

  18. on 31 Oct 2007 at 6:45 pm

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  19. on 31 Oct 2007 at 7:13 pm


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