Climate Crunch

PETER CURRIER – A Fictitious Interview:

Part 1
LIFESTYLE CHOICES

After their initial pleasantries, we tune in to this fictitious interview between George Guessworthy of Climate Crunch and a local builder, Clive Mason. Climate Crunch’s main concern is that even those who are fully aware of planetary precarity can’t accept the lifestyle changes necessary to avert cataclysm.

George Guessworthy is a retired social worker, and Clive Mason is a small, successful local builder….

Clive Mason:
……That’s twice now that you’ve mentioned my Ford 150, George. But I noticed the SUV you’re driving. And you know that I’m a builder, not some suburban dad who cares about image more than he does about his family’s safety. Do you know what we call those guys in their pretty Chrysler pickups with their dashboard doilies? We call them scRAMmers. Faced with any real work they scRAM.

George Guessworthy:
For sure. Working vehicles are essential. But I might as well cut to the chase. Climate Crunch is well aware of corporate malfeasance, political inertia, and big money greed. But our main focus in these interviews is what people can do personally to stop climate catastrophe. Of course the Ford 150 truck is on our radar. It’s the biggest selling vehicle in America. But the future looks grim and gas prices are going way way up. Given the planet’s precarity, C.C. is wondering why people haven’t twigged to small or electric cars.

CM
EVs ? – Well firstly, they don’t have that great a range. I don’t think that they are all that powerful, either. Ford’s working on an EV pick-up, but half the time they’re using fossil fuels to crank the electricity they need to recharge. And where do you juice them up? Musk only provides ports for Teslas, and they’re hard to find. I hear a lot of negative stuff about the batteries, too. Mining that trashes the earth and batteries that compared to gas have hopeless energy storage capacity.

GG
It’s true that E.V.s are a work in progress. But Australia is burning up, and so is BC. Fire and floods everywhere. We’re losing more than a trillion tons of ice every year. Oil and gas reserves will be gone or hopelessly costly to access in 30 or 40 years. What then?
And what about Susie and Bill? Think of your kids. You’re still young yourself. Global warming and climate change are real. Are you making any plans to handle that?
For that matter if they can’t grow and truck food how are you going to eat?

CM
I know about Climate Crunch, George. You hug trees. You turn off the lights. Pick up after your dog. Bring your own bags to the supermarket. You tell people about your great new bike and the nifty canoe trip you took. I bet you pick up garbage on the trail and even recycle your banana fruit stickers. Am I right?

GG
Trees are important, Clive. And no. I don’t recycle my fruit stickers.

CM
Well what about that nice tan you’ve got. That looks like Florida to me. Or Mexico maybe.

GG
We pay the carbon tax when we fly!

CM
Well good for you, George. Your cottage. There used to be trees there. And you have to drive to get to it. What kind of boat do you have? And did you say you’ve got three kids?

GG
It’s a 10 H.P. runabout. Hardly a planet wrecker. And my kids – they’re all good productive people.

CM
I’m not disagreeing with you George. But here’s what I think. We have too many people. Your three-kid family planning made that worse. You drove nine K to get here in a big car, and I notice it’s not an EV. Didn’t think twice about it. I think you said you live in Cedar Heights. I’m a builder and I happen to know there’s not one house in that development under 3200 ft.²
Yeah. And today’s Globe and Mail…. ” (finds the paper). “Yeah. Here it is:
” ‘… even many Canadians who recognize climate change as a long-term existential threat are more preoccupied with their families’ immediate needs.’ “
-Some Radwanski guy. He’s saying that folks are more worried about getting by today than they are big wind storms tomorrow.”

GG
That’s pretty cynical, Clive.

CM
Cynical or realistic? Thousands of people flew to that COP thing in Scotland, and didn’t do anything but make speeches and party once they got there. Do you know how much junk all those jet miles put into the atmosphere?
And if you think I’m cynical, check out Andrew Nikiforuk. The guy who did the UVic Writing’s Southam speech last year? – Great gig. It’s on UTube. And the stuff we’re talking about here … just small examples of his big picture gloom.

Sure organizations like Climate Crunch are important. Good buddy of mine – fellow Sustainable Studies grad, belongs to Planet Dearth, and maybe the first step in turning the ship around does lie with organizations like CC and PD. Let’s face it. There are no paradigms and no blueprints for hauling us out of this mess. No precedents.
And I agree that we have to start somewhere.

GG
Um. You did Sustainable Studies? Where was that?

CM
Trent. There wasn’t much of a demand for eco stuff when I graduated and I love to build, so here I am.

GG
But thought you were….

CM
Yeah, George. I’m pretty sure I know what you thought. Let’s not go there. I’m rusty now. But even in school, where all of us knew that climate change was real, we couldn’t really wrap our heads around it. Now there are all these predictions of catastrophe but people are still eating avocados and heating huge sections of their houses where nobody ever goes. No family ‘needs’ more than 400 ft.² per person. In developing countries families of nine live in half that. And I’m well aware of the resources that go into building a house. But what politician has the guts to tell folks they can’t build monster homes? Or that they have to turn in their Sea-Doos.

GG
OK, Clive, OK. You’ve touched some real sore spots and we haven’t even talked about politics and capitalism yet. I’m assuming that’s your wife that just pulled in the driveway. Look. I know you aren’t going to join Climate Crunch. Yes, few if any of our members have suffered real privation as a result of planetary abuse. But humanity is galloping towards the cliff edge. If groups like ours can reach enough pivotal players in time, if our efforts can move enough people to make enough changes in enough areas of our lifestyle to head off even 1/4 of a degree of global warming, we will have saved trillions of natural lives and probably billions of human ones.
The alternative is to do nothing. And that is not an option.

CM
I hear you, George. And this has been good. I didn’t study this stuff for nothing. Yeah. So come back. We’ll do politics. Peak oil. That and maybe why people aren’t taking it seriously yet. If Kim’s back, I gotta start mushing limes. Thursday is margarita night, George. Stick around for a bit? I think we could all use a drink.

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