Editorial: Doing nothing the most foolish failure of all

White Rock council to be commended for any action on climate change

White Rock council made a New Year’s resolution at its first meeting of 2020 on Monday.

Council unanimously endorsed a recommendation from its environmental advisory committee to address climate change as an emergency.

This resolution demands that the committee sets climate change mitigation goals ands that it and staff work diligently to achieve them. More than that, it will require staff to keep council informed on the latest regional developments, initiatives and opportunities – and take time to assess the climate impacts of any recommended action.

Like all New Year’s resolutions, it’s full of good intentions. Like most, it may be hard to sustain on a daily basis.

But just because a worthy aim is difficult to achieve is no reason not to attempt it.

Those who cynically disdain any effort to improve our lot may strike a pose of pragmatism, but in reality they are subscribing to the logic of the quitter and the language of the fearful. While inaction may be a guarantee of never making a mistake, failing or looking foolish, it’s also a guarantee that nothing good will be accomplished, possibly the greatest and most foolish failure of all.

In discussion before the council vote, Coun. Scott Kristjanson acknowledged that there are those in our community who steadfastly believe climate change to be a hoax.

In answer, he invoked a cartoon by Joel Pett, originally published in the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald Leader in 2009 prior to an international climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Faced with a huge screen full of positive steps to improve the planet shown in point form, one participant turns to another and asks ‘What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?’

What indeed?

While there are those who may scorn it, there is nothing on White Rock’s agenda of environmental sensitivity that will make the situation worse.

Ecological warriors have been warning us for more than 50 years that we are on a dangerous path of placing profit motives and political expediency ahead of the health of the planet. They have been decried, dismissed and ridiculed.

But increasing climate extremes around the world – and related events, such as the fires in Australia – are giving many of us pause to reflect on such warnings.

No doubt the familiar chorus of naysayers who sound off whenever Greta Thunberg attempts to raise awareness of climate issues will be quick to deride White Rock’s resolution – and point fingers of blame anywhere else in the world but here.

That, again, is no reason why we should not to try to make a positive difference in our corner – starting right here and right now.

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