A year ago the realities and causes of climate change were still ‘under debate’. Today, news of impending environmental disaster is everywhere. We are now hearing that that ‘everyone on the planet could stop driving their cars today, and we would still be facing devastating effects in the future’. The debate, it seems, is over.
Except... I want to share a personal moment. Near the end of June, 2007 I was sitting in a kitchen in Wasagamack, in northern Manitoba. To get there I had flown north from Winnipeg in a Dash-8 for just over an hour, landed in St. Theresa Point, and then traveled in a small, outboard motor boat for about 30 minutes. Everything in Wasagamack is flown and then boated in.
Sitting in the Wasagamack kitchen, having breakfast, I hold a jar of jam in my hand. French jam. French mango and pineapple jam. Neither mangoes nor pineapples grow in France. How many times had this jam been around the planet in order to be sitting in my hand in Wasagamack? How devastating is the structure we have built that supports this sort of excess? Most troubling of all, how do we deflate the sense of entitlement we have (I have) to the jam?
What do we do? How do we cope with what is already coming, and adapt our behaviour as much as possible so as not to make matters worse? Is going out and filling our shopping bags with “green” products a real solution? How do we alter deeply ingrained behaviours that have contributed to the situation we find ourselves in – both locally and globally? How do we adapt?