e-positioning for eco-sitioning *

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

- from Head Coyote Bob Dylan
In the spirit of year-end, it's time to consider the sins of the very recent past: A sheaf of history's political masters have defined leadership, in so many words, as the act of sensing what people already believe, then scrabbling to their head to take credit. Strange, then, that some current lint-brains claiming to be 'world leaders' do not grasp the axiom: You can't lead from behind.

I've heard some claim our current PM is a smart man. Yet he seems dedicated to trying to rule yesterday's country and economy in yesterday's world, having not grasped the fact that they no longer really exist. Yes, the CDN$ rides high on energy futures just now. But it's a fire sale, isn't it? The wrong kind of fire, at that. Obstinately self-blinkered to the fact of global warming, the PM stands against a rising tide, balanced on feet of oil shale - which is just another kind of clay.

Instead of harnessing the currents, winds and tides - physical, political and metaphorical - he's parked his throne to try to stop them. King Canute couldn't stop the sea from rising a thousand years ago, and I see no sign that the universe has since caved on any of the more immutable laws of physics.

Granted, the Rt. Hon. Mr. H. and his overpartisan hench-thingies are not the first politicians to misunderestimate** their actual grasp on the levers of political power. But as Kevin Conrad of Papua New Guinea pointed out in Bali last month, when you don't lead, you're in the way. Maybe you stall because your life, your daddy's or all of your friends' are dedicated to making a buck or million from fossil fuels. Maybe you're just a dogmatic hack. I can think of two or three North American heads of state who fit this bill. They, like the fuels they favour, are fossils. At Bali, they accomplished not the much-hyped and hoped-for climatic compromise, but a craven rearguard stall. They agreed to maybe do something. But later. Much later. Triple gin and tonics all 'round.

Too bad. Canada is a country poised with space and potential for large-scale wind, solar and tidal power development, and a portfolio of nice little pilot projects that could power a shift to a new-energy economy. Old and new tidal generators in the Bay of Fundy barely begin to tap the potential of the world's highest tides. Another proposal for an updated underwater turbine project on the west coast is just as promising. Wind blows across this country, with power for the asking if you can manage to avoid sullying Anne Murray's million-dollar view. Solar panels are finally becoming light, cheap and robust enough to use as twenty-first century shingles. Unfortunately states and provinces are the actors, while the feds stand idly, jeer into their sleeves and loudly pretend to be doing good things. (Hellooo, John Baird! Again!)

These things are the future because they must be. What stands in the way? A guy heading a government full of guys, and toadying to another guy in another government south of here, who doesn't get it either. All are vested in governing the past only, ignoring a globally-warming sea rising toward Tuvalu and points north. They'd best start swimming with the current, in all senses of that word. If they can't or won't, they'd better get the hell out of the way. Here comes the rest of the world, ahead of them already, and all wired up with the Internet to take action against their shortcomings. And I think it's getting pissed. Given the night, I know I am. Ta!

* Yet another in coyote's tiresome series of eco-rants. Collect them all and trade them with your friends! (Hey. I'll stop when this government starts to get it...)

** Sic. And hah.

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