Sunday, March 28, 2010

It Isn't Easy Being Greenish

I'm now a member of the Federal Green Party AND the Provincial Green Party.

But I find it harder being green than being NDP orange. For me, social justice issues are much clearer than environmental issues. Oh I know social justice is part of the Green Platform, that's one of the reasons I joined, it just isn't the raison d'ĂȘtre, and isn't what people have had time to discuss at the meetings I've been to.

" Shift" might happen, but it doesn't happen easily for some of us.

The backlash against the global warming theory unnerved me shortly after I joined the Federal party last spring. There is a strong contingent of very vocal people out there that believes global warming is hogwash. Naturally, just because I had committed myself, every newspaper and magazine article, as well as radio and television show I happened upon, seemed to be promoting that view.

I searched for the truth. But the truth on environmental issues isn't always easily found. Research on Google was overwhelming. I couldn't just pop up to the Arctic and see for myself.

In the end I thought of Hamilton.

For me, the Burlington Skyway has always been the link between Niagara and the great outside world. I remember when there was just one bridge. Heck, I even remember when you had to pay to go over it. But mostly I remember those giant Stelco smokestacks. For decades they spewed a toxic smelling black smoke across Hamilton harbour. The sky and water were a sickly steel gray even on the sunniest of days. The paint peeled on the few houses that were strung along the beach and they looked grim and abandoned. The stench was nauseating. I pitied the few small people I would sometimes see scurrying below as my car safely sped over the span and away from the hellish scene.

I realize now that the environment had to have been affected by Stelco and I believe that global warming, or to use the new and I think more apt phrase, "global wierding" is a direct result of human activity.

So I was in a self-congratulatory mood as I headed to last week's Green Party meeting. "In like flint," I thought to myself with relief, "I've finally got it."

After signing in I made my way across the head table where the books, pamphlets, buttons etc. were spread out for the party faithful to fondle. I picked up a couple of things, more for show than anything else. The buzz in the room was loud and as I'm not one for mingling, I returned to my seat. Waiting for the meeting to start, I turned over one of the pamphlets.

My hair stood on end. I didn't know the Green Party was against nuclear power. I thought nuclear power was 'clean' energy - dangerous maybe, but environmentally friendly unless there was a melt down and millions of people and animals suffered endless agonies and then died lingering painful deaths. But there it was in black and white and green, "We can keep the lights on without nuclear." The pamphlet went on to note that Ontario's wind power potential is more than ten times greater than our total electricity consumption. There was even a cheery little picture of a wind farm.

It shouldn't have been a problem. I should have been able to 'shift' my thinking. Right? Not exactly because lately I've been concerned and puzzled by the reports coming out about windmill farms making people sick.

Sigh. It still isn't easy being Green.

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