Monday, December 21, 2009

Climate Change

When I read about the Copenhagen talks on climate change I am not only reminded of the trouble we are in but of my favorite topic, codependence. Take Prime Minster Harper’s most recent comment on reducing carbon emissions: “If the Americans don’t act, it will severely limit our ability to act. But if the Americans do act, it is essential that we act in concert with them.” Okay, omitting the fact that we are economically tied with our southern neighbour and its important to forge agreements, when did we forgo our independence? When did we start basing our actions on the policy of another? Well, probably too long ago but my point is that with climate change a codependent policy like that is only a hindrance.

Codependency is about searching for self value, love and acceptance in another rather than from within. It is using others as a guiding force rather than trusting our internal leadership. It is also as entrenched in our institutions as it is in human behaviour. As within; so without: if we allow our codependent parts to lead us, we will no doubt allow our codependent institutions to act accordingly. Canada and other countries are too focused in looking for others to make things better when the ability to act can only come from within.

The good news is that a multitude of cities, the internal parts of countries, are doing just that. As reported by the Globe and Mail (Dec 5) cities as diverse as Mumbai and Edmonton are improving their track record on environmental issues. Mumbai is overhauling its lighting system and Edmonton is “on track to divert 90% of residential waste from landfills by 2011”. Mexico City restricts driving within city limits while promoting public transit and Seattle, whose “electricity production leaves virtually no carbon footprint” has committed itself to the original Kyoto agreement leading more than 1000 US cities with the same pledge.

So let us follow our municipalities’ lead and be the leader for our own codependent parts. Let us teach these parts that most of the answers lie within and that if we could only acknowledge how resourceful and creative we are, we would be in a much healthier place. Let us reduce our own energy consumption at home, drive less and take transit more; turn off lights and use a clothes line; take our cloth bags to shop and wrap presents in used wrapping or newspaper and, above all, reduce first; recycle second. Moreover, let us listen to the words of the late and great anthropologist, Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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