Are humans any smarter than frogs in a pot? If you put a frog in a pot and slowly turn up the heat, it won’t jump out. Instead, it will enjoy the nice warm bath until it is cooked to death. We humans seem to be doing pretty much the same thing.’ For almost 20 years the world has discussed climate change and the impact that it has on the environment. I believe that it is one of the biggest issues that we face today. Aside from it’s financial and ethical challenges, it ultimately involves global negotiations and global commitments; so with an all or nothing solution, true success seems unattainable. Can any one country be held responsible for the impact that it has on climate change? Can any one country points it’s finger in blame? This essay will address those very issues by looking at who, if anyone, should be held responsible for the impact that climate change is having on the island nation of Kiribati as well as Canada’s responsibility related to this issue.
Although there are many Pacific island nations who are at risk by rising sea levels, Kiribati, a small island nation in the Pacific is one of the first islands whose feeling the affect of global warming. Contamination of its freshwater and coastal erosion are making its residents worried that if nothing gets done than by 2050 it will become the next Atlantis, lost forever under the water. Instead of waiting for this to happen the residents of the island are taking a stand both at the local and international level. They are lobbying for treaties which hold industrialized countries accountable for climate related damages in non developed countries like their own. Industrialized and wealthy countries need and should be responsible for providing countries like Kiribati with not only compensation but also the assurance that if the time comes and it’s people need to leave that they have somewhere to go. Its important to plan ahead and ensure that with the help of organizations like the United Nations, that there will be processes in place for people who are forced to relocate because of climate change. These people will be leaving behind their homes, culture and history and need to be treated with integrity not refugees. Industrialized nations, need to be held accountable.
At some level, each of us is accountable for climate change, therefore Canada cannot turn its back on the issue. It’s important that Canada recognzies its role, changes its polices and ensures that its industries are doing everything they can to lessen their impact on the environment. Canada needs to become more proactive about doing the right thing instead of waiting to see what everyone else is doing. Canada needs to change the way things are being done. ‘From signing international agreements to the uptake of renewable energy, all across the board Canadians are waiting for the federal government to take responsibility and lead.’ As a country we need to be leaders when it comes to energy efficiencies and the implementation of environmentally friendly technologies. Instead of contributing to the problem Canada needs to focus on ways that it can become a global leader. Withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol because we didn’t meet our targets and pointing our fingers at other nations because they weren’t on board is unacceptable. Canada needs to step up and take action and be responsible regardless what other nations are doing.
The long term challenges of Kiribati, or Canada assuming responsibility for its part in climate change, along with reducing the inequality between nations all need to be addressed for us to successfully move forward as a planet. The human impact on the world, has taken its toll and countries can no longer ignore that climate change has become a serious issue. Our abuse of resources, to the point of depletion and lack of concern for the environment has literally changed the climate. Higher temperatures, harsh winter storms and rains, Tsunamis, earthquakes etc are all indicators of this and affect all of us and yet many countries have done nothing to correct the issues or lessen the impact on the environment. Industrial countries have often ignored the impact or threat that is being felt by less industrialized countries. But if this shortsightedness continues….and these countries continue to ignore these issues…without a doubt its only a matter of time before this crisis will impact them.
When it comes to climate change the inequality between rich and poor nations needs to end. The world has to stop turning its back and come together to address the issues that are affecting our planet. The time has come to stop talking about the issue and to actually start doing something about it.We can no longer be ignorant, turning our backs and hoping that this problem, will go away or that someone else will take care of it. The affects don’t recognize or respect borders; it doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, small or big. This global challenge requires global solidarity; if this doesn’t happen than or the future of the human race will be questionable. In the end don’t we want to be smarter than a frog?
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