It's funny how people listen only when there's a bottom line involved. Yesterday, former World Bank chief economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, came out with a report assessing the economic impact of global warming (see article here). All I can say is: ABOUT BLOODY TIME! If the impact to business' bottom line is what is needed to sound the alarms for world leaders to act on global warming, then so be it. I'm just glad that at least some politicians are starting to pay attention to this very important matter.
That being said, this situation does say something about 21st-century Western society. Look around you. As Westerners, we live a pretty comfortable life. On average, the Western middle class enjoys a nice life of heated and air conditioned homes, one or more TV sets, one or more computers, lines of credit, shopping malls, fast food, access to public schools, and access to *some* form of healthcare (though, as per previous Boonacky entries, I'm not entirely sure about that lovely Canadian healthcare system that the US envies so much). At any rate, on the most part, middle-class Westerners can afford to want, rather than to need.
It's easy for us to sit in our cushy living rooms or even in our cushy little cubicles at work and complain about the cost of living, but do we know what it's like to be poor? Do we know what it's like to worry about putting food on the table? Not really. We don't care about the fact that even though those Ziploc bags sure are great for storing food, when we throw them out once they've outlived their usefulness, they just sit there in a garbage dump for years and years, not really decomposing. We don't think about the fact that most of our garbage just sits there, getting bigger and bigger, requiring more and more landfill sites because it's not really going anywhere. Hell, we don't even think about those less fortunate than us who are suffering in our own countries, let alone the poor souls who are living in misery elsewhere around the world. It's easy to forget when you're living in a little bubble. Sure, we're aware of world issues, but they all seem to go away once we turn off that TV set or that computer. We're all guilty of it, me included.
So, we've sat on our well-fed Western butts for long enough - politicians and *commoners* alike. It's time for action. Let this report be a wake-up call to all those who were asleep when environmentalists were crying for help. I try to do my bit for the environment every day, but there's always more to be done. Unfortunately, we as humans sometimes need folks in power to set an example. So, I invite the G8 leaders to wake up and smell the coffee, because otherwise, someday within our lifetimes, the smell of coffee will be a thing of the past.
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