22 November 2009

Two Weeks to Copenhagen - Who is Dispensable?

Imagine travelling to a nation's beef and oil capital — and offering a seminar called "Creating a Healthy Planet with a Plant-Based Diet"! That's what we did yesterday here in Canada, in a city that shall remain nameless. During the 1970s oil crisis, these were the folks who put the slogan "Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark" on their bumper stickers (talking about their fellow Canadians in eastern provinces, which is where I was living at the time). So I, at least, came with some trepidation.

It was, happily, a wonderful event, attended by wonderful people ... some life-long vegetarians/vegans who wanted to learn the connection between meat and global warming, some new to this diet and seeking support, and some just learning about it for the first time.

During the question period, a well-known and respected vegan in this community asked my husband to comment on what seems to be an orchestrated campaign by "certain interests" to wipe out hundreds of millions of human beings. "There's a group of people who have no conscience whatsoever," this gentleman said. "They are aiming at controlling, through the economy, the whole of the Earth. Their prime goal is to reduce the population by 80%...."

I must admit that even though my Pollyanna view of the world has been rocked by the global climate change emergency, I had never quite looked at it this way. Yet it fits perfectly with what I talked about yesterday — our inability (or wanton unwillingness) to view human beings outside our circle of familiarity as members of our species.

The gentlemen, as I understood him, was not only talking about the very powerful denialist machine that has ramped up again, pre-Copenhagen, to sow confusion and spew falsehoods about the science of global warming and climate change. He was pointing out that our inaction on the climate crisis is a form of population control. And definitely not the kind of population control many of us have espoused or worked towards, through higher levels of education for girls and women, funding for family planning, and reproductive rights for women everywhere.

No, this form of population control is akin to genocide, and it is leading to progenycide.

The tragic irony is that by being willing to dispense with the lives of all those who aren't "like us" (or contributing to "our" economy), we are risking 100% population control ... the end not only of human civilization, but of human life itself.

Photographer: H. Armstrong Roberts

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?