The federal proposal to put polar bears on the Endangered Species list is good news, yet deeply sobering. It tells us that things are bad enough that even this administration, which seems to have been averse to fact and science to its very core, has yielded to the evidence — in the tragic form of dead and dying polar bears, drowning as they swim in open ocean, exhausted, looking for ice floes that they once could rely upon, that are now increasingly scarce.
The polar bear is the canary in the coal mine, except it’s not an early warning, it’s a late one. Will we avoid the damage? Perhaps, but not all of it; events are in motion, lag times are long. Perhaps, if we act quickly to make the major changes in the world’s energy economy that everyone knows are needed, but that don’t seem to get made quickly enough; GHG emissions continue to rise, even among Kyoto signatory nations. Perhaps, if business leaders leap to the fore, far ahead of regulatory requirements, to shape and own the business opportunities that major transformation can represent. Perhaps, if each of us as individual players take our footprint as seriously as if lives depended on it.
I usually tend to the upbeat and optimistic. Not today.
We’re all canaries now.
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