We celebrated “Earth Day” this week, although the tone seemed far from celebratory considering all that the planet has survived.
Given where some have predicted we’d be by now, either underwater or gasping our last in a desert wasteland, you’d think champagne corks would be popping all over the place. But no.
I joined “Greenpeace” back when they were primarily engaged in saving whales. The cameraman on one of the first films I did got famous not long after when a Russian trawler Captain fired a harpoon inches from his head as he, his Bolex and a Greenpeace Zodiac came between a ship and a whale it wanted to slaughter.
It was probably this Putin punk already working to shore up the “Evil Empire” image.
Lately, I’ve had my differences with the environmental community. Mostly because –- well, no matter how hard so many of us try to live up to what they say is expected of us, nothing from their point of view ever gets better.
It’s almost as if they can’t be allowed to get better.
When I was a kid in Saskatchewan, there was an endangered species which summered there, the Whooping Crane, that everybody insisted wouldn’t be back the following Summer.
I heard this first hand from a bird guy named Bill Miner, who sometimes slept on my parents’ couch, when he came through in the Spring to count the arriving “mating pairs”.
Bill was probably the David Suzuki of his day, just not as smug and self-important.
I remember sitting in Bill’s pick-up as he scanned local sloughs with his binoculars. I believe the species was down to 17 pairs capable of laying one or two eggs per season, meaning that the chances they could ever rebuild their numbers were pretty slim.
I got to see the great birds up close and hear the signature whooping that gave them their name. But I also got to see the thrilled expression on his face after he’d waded into a thicket of reeds and found some nests with eggs.
He was hugely excited because the Cranes were hanging in. They still had a chance. And that was a very good thing.
These days, the Whooping Cranes are back to several hundred mating pairs. Still endangered to be sure, but making steady progress back from the brink.
This past Earth Day, however, I awoke to CBC News announcing that the Harper Government were removing the Humpback Whales on the Pacific Coast of Canada from the endangered list. Only this was a “slap in the face” to environmentalists.
It apparently was a cynical move to assist the dastardly oil companies building a pipeline to the coast, taking away one more obstacle to its construction. Trading the health of the planet for the well being of some soul-less corporation’s bottom line.
CBC even trotted out a woman who acknowledged that Humpback numbers had increased, but that only increased the number of instances where these magnificent animals would be rammed to death by the evil captains of behemoth oil tankers.
Her intensity made me wonder if her impression of Sea Captains was primarily based on Dennis Hopper in “Waterworld”.
But then, I remembered that the environmental movement has changed from the era of Bill Miner and the early days of “Greenpeace”.
These are now people eternally focussed on Doomsday scenarios who won’t even engage in civil discourse because the science is settled and everybody who doesn’t think the way they do is an idiot. A dangerous idiot.
Unreported by the CBC was the fact that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (a non-governmental body) has recommended dropping the Humpback from the endangered list since 2011 as upwards of 180,000 non-calf whales are now regularly travelling the migratory routes between Mexico and Alaska.
Our National broadcaster also ignored both such official voices as the director of the UBC Fisheries Centre, who thought the public should be “pleased” by the Humpback’s progress, along with the anecdotal evidence of BC Whale Watch operators who noted that while Humpbacks used to be rare, last year they accounted for 30% of the whales sighted.
But that doesn’t fit the “We’re all hopelessly doomed” narrative does it? And it makes me wonder why…
Why nobody concerned with the environment was bothered that while Evil Stephen Harper was harpooning whales for the oil lobby, US President Barack Obama increased his carbon footprint by 350 tons just by flying to Japan on Earth Day.
And even if the President had reason to go to Japan, was it responsible of environmentalists themselves to fly Andrew (Spiderman) Garfield and his celeb gal-pal from LA to Malaysia to kick off Earth Hour two weeks ago and make sure they were back in LA to bring the event to a close on the same day?
How come none of these happy warriors mind that spokesmen like Harrison Ford fly two hours down the California coast to visit a favorite burger joint or that Al Gore is constantly photographed getting off a private jet and walking to a private limo?
Wouldn’t the optics be a whole lot better if Al once in a while flew commercial and got into a Tesla?
Why are the rest of us required to sacrifice while those “in the know” about how bad things are still hop-scotch the world with luxurious impunity?
This Earth Day, even the group that Gore uses to support his “Inconvenient Truths”, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change went on record to say that his claims that extreme weather was far more common now than ever before were primarily full of shit.
I think you might find some of what’s really driving the drive to never have any good news in what follows. And it doesn’t raise my own confidence that we’re being told the truth in the first place...
Enjoy Your Sunday.