Definition of euphemism : A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.
It’s about time scientists on both sides of the blame game gave up trying to periodically rename our increasingly wonky weather patterns. Sometime into the 1970s they were using the somewhat clunky term “inadvertent climate modification.” (Wow.)
Obviously, a niggle too clinical for the pedestrian ear, they changed it to the more resonant “global warming.” But after some rogue (wanna-be or otherwise) climatologists argued cold spells, out of sync with the seasons, flew in the face of the jargon (and being typical human beings) raised the euphemism bar and settled on the more inclusive “climate change.” (Now you can freeze to death in August.) Today, we have a growing hysteria for carbon footprinting.
OK, now that we are all up to date, here’s the thing: If it quacks it’s a duck, not a water-logged alternative to a chicken. Let’s call it what it really is: Pollution. (Such an ugly word, isn’t it?)
We have been taking the Earth for granted, like pigs in a sty. Politicians (never want for taking advantage of a vote-harvesting platform) pass slogging, next generational term bills to ease up on what is essentially corruption of air and water. Noise pollution is a sidebar (unless you live along Beaurepaire Dr.)
We think that just because we throw some stuff into a blue box, we are coddling the planet. Then the junk is dumped back onto our doorstep after the Third World rejects our shipments.
Scientific seminar speechmakers tell us we need to make drastic changes. And then the human folly kicks in again: Politicians bring in carbon tax, stores charge you a nickel for a plastic bag (horrors of horrors), X number of countries promise to kiss the Kyoto deal while the United States military emits more carbon in a day than Canada does in a year (slight exaggeration, but not by much.)
Drastic measures really mean we have to do it now, even if people affected (and that means all of us) will howl. Here’s what I would do if I were Prime Minister (Fat chance, huh?):
- Ban all plastic bags, all plastic bottles, all cellophane wrapping in food stores — now.
- All plastic must be biodegradable. All fast food and drink packaging must be biodegradable.
- Zero emission incinerators must be installed in all cities. (Sweden has zero waste.)
- (This space reserved for the rest of the obvious right things to do … now.)
Don’t kid yourself. We have the technology for all of the above. It just eats into corporate profits. Money trumps collective health. And I don’t care what China and India are up to. We should live by example. (They will begrudgingly wake up eventually.)
Once more into the breach, folks: It’s about pollution. Period. People in Tokyo and China don’t walk around in white masks because they think they are the Lone Ranger. Climate will do what it wants to do, and we will poison ourselves and/or choke to death long before its 30 degrees C in January. And even if we did all the right things (ha!) we will all freeze to death in the next Ice Age, give or take a million years.
I have no doubt that some smug scientist will hit on an even more popular euphemism for what’s going on. (We should hold a name contest. The winner gets a free case of water bottles and Tim Horton cups.)
Fix pollution, and the planet will do what it wants anyway. And we are way too slow in reversing the damage of our time on this blue and green ball. And if we ever make it to lift-off in colonizing (Read: escape to ) another fresh and clean planet, we will probably crash and burn inside the growing belt of space junk we have set in orbit.
The elephant in the room is not climate change; it’s global pollution.
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