The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them. Although we've known about climate change and its potential impacts for a long time, and we're seeing those impacts worsen daily, our political representatives are still approving and promoting fossil fuel infrastructure as if we had all the time in the world to slow global warming.
In reality, the left of the 21st century has failed to offer alternatives to a number of critical issues and doesn't seem to be adapting to a rapidly changing society and economy. Climate change, new technologies, and the development of the knowledge-based economy are challenges that don't fit the traditional, Marxist-based narrative of the left.
If you are hiring summer students, have teenagers slouching around the house, or you are a forward-thinking CEO, you are spending some time thinking about Gen Z. The follow-on generation to the Millennials is something of an unknown to most. The biggest question: how they are going to perform in the workforce?
Please stop insulting, trashing and schlonging your fellow candidates. That's not the Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist thing to do. And please, please, please don't use my name to promote a pro-gun agenda. I've worked for millennia to build a peace-loving reputation and I don't need you undermining it.
Pope Francis' statements are a testament to the immeasurable and enduring damage that colonialism and transatlantic slavery had on Africa. But Pope Francis' covert finger-wagging to African leaders for their role in what the pontiff called 'new colonialism' seems like an apt distraction from the 'old colonialism' the Church has yet to answer for.
One could be forgiven for thinking climate change would be at the centre of the election. A decade of gutted environmental laws, unfettered fossil fuel expansion, missed carbon pollution reduction targets and a failure to capture the tangible benefits of shifting to cleaner energy production and use has not only lowered our collective expectations, but put us at the back of the pack globally.
The visit of Pope Francis to the United States and his unprecedented address to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations in the same week is making headlines everywhere and ruffling some feathers too. Around the world people of all faiths simply love this guy and maybe what we love about him most is that unlike most leaders, he is willing to challenge us even if we don't like the message.
Despite the undeniable facts (half of the world's Catholics are female; most Sunday pews are occupied by women; the vast majority of North American Catholics support the idea of women's ordination) Pope Francis' 2013 assertion that the "door is closed" to women in the priesthood has remained unchanged.
The federal leaders' debate on the economy focused on important issues but no one talked about a different vision for Canada's economy. A better economic vision would support the right of all Canadians to live in a healthy environment, with access to clean air and water and healthy food. It would respect planetary boundaries and provide the moral imperative to decrease growing income disparities. Businesses would be required to pay for environmental damage they inflict, capital would be more widely distributed and ideas, such as employee shareholder programs with ethically invested stocks, would be the norm.
It's astounding and tragic that, with all the evidence -- from volumes of scientific research to the very real effects we are experiencing everywhere -- some people stubbornly refuse to believe there's a problem worth addressing. Sadder still: Many of them are political leaders. Fortunately, most thinking people don't buy the lies. People from all sectors and walks of life -- religious, academic, business, political, activist, social justice and citizenry -- are calling for an urgent response to the greatest threat humanity faces.
I've been astounded by the lack of response over the years, but I'll go out on a limb and suggest a shift is now taking place. Although we may not recognize its significance without the benefit of hindsight, we appear to be in the early stages of something huge. Even some news outlets are shifting. The U.K.'s Guardian decided earlier this year to increase its coverage of climate change, going so far as to encourage divestment from the fossil fuel industry.
Earth is clearly experiencing more frequent extreme weather than in the past, and we can expect it to get worse as we burn more coal, oil and gas and pump more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This can have profound and costly impacts on everything from agriculture to infrastructure, not to mention human health and life.