Saturday, February 25, 2006

The issues of our time

These are what I think are the three most critical global issues that we are faced with right now:

1) Ballistic Missile Defence
2) Climate Change
3) Extreme poverty and disease in Africa

With respect to ballistic missile defence, it is a hoax, a scam perpetuated by the military-industrial complex. It is powerful enough to lead Canadian politicians to lie through their teeth and support it, going against Canadian public opinion. It is an extremely dangerous and stupid plan which is not defensive but in fact offensive in intent. In contrast to what it's supporters say, it does involved the weaponization of space, it hasn't being proven to work, and it will spawn a new global arms race. These are verifyable facts. I am doing a lot of educating myself on this issue, and expect that I'll be writing about it quite a bit in the future.

The vast majority of independent scientists agree that man-made climate change is happening. So do all industrialized countries except for the US. The US signed Kyoto but has refused to ratify it. We will continue to ignore it at our peril. While we pat ourselves on the back for belonging to a country that supports Kyoto, let's remember that Kyoto is just a first step, a small first step. We will have to radically change our consumption and transportation habits if we are really going stop the coming catastrophe.

It is disgraceful, truly disgraceful, that there exists in this world such a profound gap between rich and poor. Even the poor here don't know what poor it when you consider the squalor in which the poor in the majority world, especially in Africa , live. If, as Gandhi said, poverty is the worst form of violence, then Africa is being massacred. People their die for AIDS and starvation by the thousands. Even more appaling is the reality that it is entirely preventable. If Western governments merely gave .7% of their GDP to financially support Africa, it would go a long way toward stifling this terrible scenario.

When I look at these critical issues, one thing that comes to mind is a huge disconnect. Around a trillion dollars will be put toward an insane missile defence scheme that will put us on the brink. Somehow, it seems to make more sense to some to support that expenditure, rather than spend a fraction of that saving lives in Africa. Therefore, I think these issues are not just about the bare-bones facts. They are about the kind of world we want to live in, and what we consider important. They are about what we value as human beings. They are about how we want out public money to be spent. They are about beating our swords into ploughshares.