Nelson: Yes, David Suzuki, you are what you do
Re-Printed Without Permission.
If indeed all politics is local, then surely all carbon footprints are correspondingly individual.
After all, the vast majority of us have two feet, which we use to plod about this earth using energy in various forms and differing degrees.
So can you imagine anything more individually wasteful in burning such energy — with those resulting carbon emissions — than buying and using a holiday home on the other side of the planet?
Equally, can you imagine anything more hypocritical as turning around to lecture other folk about the dreadful environmental damage caused by burning various oils, including, of course, jet fuel?
OK, this isn’t your neighbour we’re discussing here. Nope, instead let’s have a round of hearty applause for that environmental steward, that golly-gosh green giant of Canadian cultural fame, that University of Alberta anointed mega-star, the one and the only David Suzuki.
Likely it won’t surprise many Calgarians to learn Suzuki, who has made an extremely good living berating the hoi polloi for their collective, wasteful lifestyles, let slip he’s owned a holiday apartment in Australia for years.
Now if we assume the 82-year-old doesn’t jump from the dock of one of his many B.C. homes and swim the Pacific Ocean to that Port Douglas abode in the Land Down Under, then the carbon footprint involved in a 26,000-kilometre return aircraft trip is staggering.
Just as staggering is the wilful hypocrisy of making such a well-heeled living courtesy of the whole environmental movement, despite being an individual chewing up far more resources than regular Canucks.
That’s what riles people. Regardless of whether you believe the planet’s warming is due to accumulated carbon dioxide or not — I lean that way, but then I once believed Pluto was a planet and the universe’s expansion was slowing because scientists told me such was so — most folk have lives to live and families to provide for.
Which is why people pick employment over the environment. My father’s lungs were a third full of coal dust after 49 years down the pit, but even in retirement there he was, down on the picket line, trying to stop his colliery closing. He knew what it meant to those far younger than him. The environment? Well, that was for rich people to worry about.
But David Suzuki will never understand that. To him and his ilk, this is a morally feel-good game, albeit a richly rewarding one. What better gig than to feel superior yet own five homes in the process? Heck, the U of A should have given the old dodger an honorary degree in snake oil salesmanship.
Just how deep this goes is evident in a recent answer to one of those puffball 20 lame question features that fawning publications reserve for the cultural elite, helping burnish their respective haloes along with the already inflated egos.
“What’s the best line you have ever written?” Suzuki was asked, oh so incisively.
“I just repeat what my dad taught me: You are what you do, not what you say,” his answer.
Well, if dad were alive today one imagines Suzuki the Elder would think his offspring an international property developer, rather than the green movement’s answer to Mother Theresa.
And don’t assume when he nips off for a much-needed break to Aussie-land Suzuki is content to dip his tired tootsies in the warm ocean whilst humming Waltzing Matilda.
Heck no: he’s lecturing their citizens and politicians with the same zest he’s perfected here in our Great White North.
When then prime minister Tony Abbott axed a carbon tax, Suzuki figured he should be tossed in the slammer for criminal negligence.
Sound familiar? It should, because once he wanted Stephen Harper similarly jailed for willful blindness over the Canadian PM’s environmental record.
Hey, better yet: Harper could have been shipped in irons to Botany Bay. Then Suzuki could have paid him a visit to break up those dreary vacation blahs. Suitably carrying a green salad for the cameras.
Chris Nelson is a regular columnist for the Calgary Herald.