Climate change is the “greatest global health threat of the 21st century,” so it is incumbent that physicians take a stand to protect their patients, one of the world’s leading human-rights advocates says.
“Responding to climate change is not just a scientific or technological issue,” James Orbinski, a founding member of both Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and Dignitas International, told the general council of the Canadian Medical Association in Vancouver on Monday. (Andre Picard, The Globe and Mail, August 22, 2016)
It isn’t the threat to my breathing that worries me!
It isn’t the dying salmon that will die before they spawn because the water in the rivers is too hot!
It isn’t the droughts and the floods and the fires in parched forests that worry me!
It isn’t the failure of the world governments to keep their commitments made in Tokyo, Copenhagen, and Paris!
It isn’t the rape of the rain forest that makes me mad!
It is not the surge in temperatures, forest fires, floods and drought that makes me angry!
It is not that in all of the political campaigns being waged, especially in the United States, the subject of global warming and climate change is not even being mentioned, and not being demanded from candidates for president from an unconscious corporate media machine that makes me loose sleep at night!
It isn’t even the sewage-infested waters for swimming, canoeing and rowing in the Olympics and in the Toronto harbour where Canadian Olympians train!
It isn’t the depletion of the ozone layer that risks our existence that upsets me!
All of these things are tragic and deplorable, preventable and reversible. However, they are not being addressed with the kind of urgency, energy, commitment, collaboration and consistency they require.
However, they all pale when compared with what is at the core of our global denial, avoidance and irresponsibility.
It is the atrophy of the human spirit and the accompanying courage, foresight, intelligence and
especially the political will that really removes the hope, the optimism, the creativity and the basic will
to survive that leaves millions living in deplorable conditions, breathing in toxic air into their lungs,
drinking water not fit for the animals so polluted with industrial and residential waste, and attempting
to grow crops for food for their families and their animals.
Decades ago, scientists were accused of dropping the word apocalypse so frequently that they virtually lost their public podium from which to address the issue. Today, as David Suzuki repeatedly reminds every audience he faces, “We are running out of time!.....if we have not already done so!