The Coming Year

I thought to post this on New Year’s Day. But I came to feel that we need to celebrate the new year as we would any year. Any serious anticipation of the new year would suggest it’s not going to be any year. Wait a week I thought.

I don’t feel we can predict with any certainty what next January will look like. It’s an unpredictable year, that could slide one way of another. A lot of tipping points. Yet I listened to Economist Dr. Stanford speak on CBC The Sunday Magazine about the coming year.  The subtext of questions and answers seemed wish to assure the audience that all can get back to normal; that is low inflation, low interest rate, in an economy of expanding production and markets. The comfortable life we all want has had a small downturn, but we should count on it returning so we can live out the rest of our lives just as we are. A lot of people and organizations are working very hard on advocacy and initiatives because what we have had is not sustainable, try as much as traditional sectors tell us it is.

 Sober minds tell us that trying to maintain the status quo for the past decades has brought us to stark choices and an unpredictable world order. We’re at a tipping point where in the next year even we can be sliding irrevocably one way or the other. NO wiggle room; no time now to get things right. It’s come this far; we have to live with what we have. 

The Gaza war is but one example, not the result of a day’s action, but a decade’s policies. Young Europeans have never known a time when right-wing parties weren’t considered viable political options, and they are now turning to them when their expectations for abundance is passing them by. WE have in a divided world, populism and extremism as the new norm, governing the world order.

Of course the climate crisis is the best example of ignoring the hard realities, carrying on as if nothing is concerning -look about Toronto: everyone is driving their cars wherever they like, whenever they like with no thought to a crisis. The world put more hydrocarbons into the atmosphere than ever before. Canada one of the worst offenders.

Fires in Canada this year were 5 times greater than they have ever been, wiping out decades of efforts at tree planing to offset carbons. That’s become our future; didn’t do enough and the result wipes out any effort we did make and eliminates any option to catch up.  Look about Toronto: everyone is driving their cars wherever they like, whenever they like. You’d never know we are in a crisis. 

We cling to the Cop 28 agreement  to eliminate, sorry, transition away from, fossil fuels. Unfortunately it’s a bit vague with no enforceable consequences for failing that. Actually the allowance for naming fossil fuels as a cause was really a last minute gesture from Saudi Arabia so that its friend the UAE would not be embarrassed on the world stage. It means nothing. At the same time the UAE is making billions of dollars of investments in greater production. Saudi Arabia (or Canada) is not going to shut down any time soon. Are we nuts? OK a question; maybe we can talk about it.