Those who know me might be surprised to learn that I sometimes think of myself as Mike Holmes, the beefy embodiment of home renovation prowess. Though I acknowledge that I’ve never owned a pair of overalls, and that we, how shall I put ...
Those who know me might be surprised to learn that I sometimes think of myself as Mike Holmes, the beefy embodiment of home renovation prowess. Though I acknowledge that I’ve never owned a pair of overalls, and that we, how shall I put this, have dissimilar builds (if we were dogs, he’d be a St. Bernard and I’d be an Afghan), we share a certain commitment to fixing things. Different things. Lots of things.
Where his tools of choice are wrenches and band saws and nail guns, mine are more like press releases, blog posts and pithy research reports. Yup, in this screwed up 21st Century world the environmentalist is essentially a handyman (or, because environmentalism is really a women`s movement, a handywoman), trying to tweak, remodel and renovate humanity’s affairs to ensure the planet remains habitable.
Whenever I hear things like this, I think of Gandhi’s sage words: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
This very path is how women got the vote, and how gays got to marry. And it’s the path that environmentalism is on, too. So saying that environmentalism is “on the defensive”
is just silly. Try throwing something recyclable into the garbage in front of a child if you don’t believe me.
“Environmentalism” is not just something that happens in Ottawa, through the good grace of Parliament. It is an attitudinal shift that is well advanced, and accelerating.
Forget politics for a moment and look at markets. Public transit ridership reaches new highs, year-after-year. Look at the skylines of our cities and see for yourself that more people want transport options like transit, cycling and walking. Visit a dealership and ask if fuel efficiency is driving new car purchases, with more hybrids and electric cars for sale than ever. Or head for the grocery aisle to see more organics, or the cosmetics counter to see fewer things that are toxic.
That’s just the half of it, too. Funny, for a cause that’s withering, how businesses (so often called the ‘real world’ by our detractors) keep looking for ways to do more.
Is everything rosy? Of course not. Clearly, at the federal level, we are stuck at the moment with the oil industry driving the energy agenda. But this is a specific problem. And it needs some clear thinking and focus to be solved.
The second reason I bristle at the “environmentalism is failing” meme is that if people didn’t want to do more, would the oil industry and its surrogates and its allies in the federal government really be going to all this trouble to stifle green groups’ voices? I don’t think so.
So back to Gandhi’s wise words: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Seems to me that, with respect to the issues swirling around tar sands and pipelines in this country we’re firmly in Stage 3 of this process.
A win for the environment and the health of Canadians is surely just around the corner.