For you, the dress code is casual.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

You Must See This Movie

I mean it.


How we are as a race at times disgusts me. Everything is disposable, from cellphones to diapers. We tear down homes so we can have pretty new ones, generating massive waste in the process, rather than just revamping what's already there. We drive our vehicles a mile or two so we don't have to waste the time walking. People toss recyclables into garbage cans, neglect to sort out paper, and just hurtle waste wherever they feel like. We never upholster furniture anymore 'cos it's too cheap to buy something new. We buy packaged food like there's no tomorrow (and there may well not be, at this pace) and then we discard the wrappers anywhere we like.*

This is the Age of Waste, the Disposable Era. We oughta be fucking ashamed.

Thank god for Al Gore.

I saw An Inconvenient Truth tonight. I was first turned on to the issue of Global Warming by The Body Shop, actually, way back in high school. It daunted me, the notion of how much of the Amazon Rainforest was disappearing and the possible repercussions for man. But never have I seen such a well-made documentary on Global Warming, and I assure you, I've seen a few. Having worked in closed captioning for six years, I've captioned three or four myself, and I love PBS, so...

If you don't really know about Global Warming, or worse, you don't believe it, then you absolutely must see this movie. If Global Warming concerns you, then you absolutely must see this movie.

I do my bit. I ride a scooter (yes, this is mine pictured here). I recycle with a passion. I've reduced my waste. I pay attention to my electricity. I keep my heat on a reasonably low temperature, and turn it off in the spring. (The building has heat controls during the day, so it's self-regulated in the winter.) I don't idle my bike more than it needs to idle. I do what I can, really. If I could afford to outfit myself with solar power, I would.

I have a little dream of one day designing my own home based on this revoluntionary housing development on Seabird Island here in BC. With geothermal heating, solar power, heat induction windows, and more, it's the most environmental community you can find anywhere, and was applauded by international designers as well as the UN. Self-sustenance is a model we should all pursue, but we've become so reliant upon urban supplies that, for most of us, it's a fantasy, and not a model.

And how about vehicles? The United States, as illustrated by Gore in the movie, has the lowest levels of gas mileage required of auto makers of any nation in the world. CHINA is more enviro-conscious mileage-wise than America. There's been a law passed in California that will require cars sold there to be as mileage-conscious as China's current levels in 11 years. Naturally, this has met with strong resistance from Detroit. And why not? They're so behind the times that no one's buying them anymore. God forbid they should have to spend money and modernize.

Vancouver's making great strides these days. It's a unique city for a few reasons. One, there's no highway that goes through this city. None. City planners made a decision decades ago that no thru-way would be constructed that would dissect the city. Instead, there are many major arterial roads, yet no freeways or highways. They all end at the city limits. This keeps the city more residential feeling, despite having more than 2 million folks about. There are bike routes everywhere, and their numbers are increasing. We have one of the most illustrious bike / walk circuits in the world, with more than 37 kilometres (nearly 25 miles) of seaside "seawall" promenade encircling the city for its bicyclists and walkers. I'm proud of the movement towards electric bikes and scooters and bikes I see happening in this city, and it's probably no coincidence that our men live the longest of any men in the world now.

I've seen the effects of Global Warming hitting this province, and it's scary what's unfolded only since my teens. Endless tracts of BC's incredibly beautiful forests have been decimated by the pine beetles. Everywhere you go, it seems, the forests are brown and dead from the relentless assault of these beetles, a pestilence that only nature can overcome by way of a nasty cold snap lasting at least three weeks. Trouble is, this province no longer gets cold enough to kill the fuckers.

Then there's a tropical fungus that has grown on Vancouver Island, which killed someone and injured 52. Guess what? We're not supposed to be considered a tropical zone. That's changing.

I remember growing up, how it'd always be icing over by Halloween. We often had snow November first during my childhood. Handy, 'cos we'd stay home and eat candy and build snowmen after the gruelling hauls of All Hallow's Eve (on which we'd use pillow cases to gather candies. Fuck plastic bags!). These days, most of the winter passes before a frost even falls. It ain't nowhere near what it used to be.

I'm proud that we have a goal of making our Winter Olympics in 2010 the most energy-efficient of any Olympics ever. There's a plan in place to create a wind turbines in Whistler village that will be able to power at least 2,000 homes by then, which the government is hoping will create greater talk of alternative energy sources. I'm glad we're doing our bit to use our world stage to try and change perceptions. Every little bit helps.

Global Warming terrifies me, but it's our stupidity that really keeps me awake at night. People like Bush, who think it's "America's right" to consume as much fuel as it likes are people I feel ought to be lined up and systematically taken out with a quick bullet to the brain. Who the fuck do you think you are, using up all that fuel, causing as much waste as you feel like, with no regard for the future beyond tomorrow? That America and Australia won't ratify Kyoto, with America being the number one carbon dioxide producer in the world (with a fifth the population of China, yet more than double their polluting), abhors me. Fucking ridiculous is what it is.

According to the film, at least 100 or 200 million people (in just a few major cities in the world, let alone all the other coastal communities and villages, which probably takes it closer to 500 or more million) will be forced to relocate within the next couple decades as a result of potential waters rising more than 20 feet worldwide if/when portions of the Antarctic or Greenland ice shelfs should break off and slip into the ocean and cause massive erosion of shorelands worldwide. Then consider projections that our population is supposed to go from 6.4 billion up to 9.1 billion within 50 years, and ask yourself this: Where the fuck do they go then? Huh? It's not like the planet's not packed enough, but here we are, on the verge of shooting up by 50% population in less than 50 years, and eroding massive amounts of our shorelands, and we're doing this little to prevent this catastrophe? (Read the rest of this funny-yet-accurate cartoon here.)

Yeah. See this movie. See the early show, and talk about it. GayBoy and I almost always have something to say during flicks. I think the last time we sat silent through a film might have been Schindler's List. This movie, we were silent from start to finish. It's not a boring documentary. Al Gore will have you sitting there rapt for the entire film. I promise. See it. Learn. Change your ways. Save your world.

And do it now.

*I say that if we continue to allow fast food chains to exist, it should be incumbent upon them to conceive of recycling methods for their containers, and they should be compelled to employ people responsible for weekly patrols of the region within a square kilometre of their businesses in order to collect and dispose of, environmentally, that trash discarded by their patrons. If they cannot educate their patrons, then their profits should be held ransom by way of alleviating the problem THEY have caused.