It's been a strange year. From the never-ending carnival of calamity at Toronto City Hall to the scandalous subterfuge on Parliament Hill, from horrific attacks by the Syrian government on its own citizenry to disasters inflicted by extreme weather on the people of the Philippines, 2013 recalls Queen Elizabeth's description of 1992 as an annus horribilis. On top of it all, those of us who have taken on the often thankless task of trying to encourage people to care for the air, water, soil and diversity of plants and animals that keep us alive came under increasingly vituperative attacks from the media and even our own government.
Jason Kenney has ratcheted Canadian immigration to 50-year highs, and his ambitions require the public to never, ever regard this as anything but a Good Thing. But in a country where 41 per cent want immigration lowered, that's far from a cakewalk. Even Tory partisans are becoming skeptical. That leaves a scramble to suggest anyone who has problems with Canadian immigration policy must be an intolerant, racist, bigot. That's why Kenney jumped on Twitter a few days later, Kenney viciously denounced David Suzuki's "stridently anti-immigration views" as "toxic and irresponsible."
Highly-regarded former Toronto Mayor David Miller says he is "very excited" about becoming the new President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada in September. There are questions about whether the WWF is effective in its work and, moreover, why the WWF and other members of the global environmental movement have made such little progress combating the most serious threat to earth -- climate change. The magnitude of the crisis facing humankind cannot be overstated.
We are stoking the heat ourselves, with the colossal pressure and encouragement of all the corporations that make billions in return for our dependency on fossil fuel, funneling a pittance in revenue to our governments, all the while decaying our democracy. Dumbing down its citizens with the toys offered in return.
Can we say the recent flooding and extreme weather in Southern Alberta and B.C. were caused by global warming? Maybe not, but we can say we should expect more of the same -- and worse if we don't do something to get our emissions under control. As many scientists warn, climate change isn't coming; it's here. We may be able to adapt to and cope with some of its current effects, but it will become increasingly difficult if we continue to ignore the need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, through conservation and switching to cleaner energy.
Despite breakthroughs in Franken-foods and robotic technology, science hierarchies employ the same age-old formula against women where a bumpin' body takes centre-stage over a beautiful mind. Have Einstein's IQ? Cool. But don't you dare look like him; and if you're heading down the family way, smack on the cocoa butter, prance like a photo shopped yummy mummy --two days after birth, because that is the rule -- and whip up that killer tuna casserole. Pronto.
On April 25, 2013, renowned scientist Dr. David Suzuki attended the WFCU Centre to empower the crowd with his Wake Up Canada call. It's a campaign organized by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition to support a day of action, encouraging kids to advocate for their environmental future through the very media that overlooked them this time around.
Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives us freedom of expression, equal protection from discrimination and the right to life, liberty and security of the person. But one fundamental right is notably absent -- to live in an environment conducive to health and well-being, with clean air, water and soil and biological diversity.