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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FELDSTED -- Today’s students need to arm themselves with critical thinking, skepticism and closely examine the conventional wisdoms they have inherited

Just imagine . . .  that the enormous power that “student strikes” have to offer the world was redirected to improving our understanding of climate change.

The concept that world nations will unite to combat climate change is delusional. Over the 70-years from 1946 to 2016, our world suffered 6,466 incidents of violent conflict, an average of 32.6 incidents per year:

1,743      Civil conflicts
293         Civil conflicts with foreign state intervention
117         Colonial or imperial conflicts
126         Conflicts between states
1,001      Non-state conflicts
907         Incidents of one-sided violence
2,279      State-based conflicts

Our world is awash with an estimated 70.8 million displaced persons and refugees. That is over seven times the estimated number of refugees at the end of WWII.

The objective of the United Nations is to coerce free world nations into spending heavily to subsidize third world nations. While that appears a worth-while endeavour, it cannot change human nature and our instinct to secure safety for our family, tribe and community. 

Tribes vie for power over other tribes and nations covet the assets of neighbours. World powers seek a geo-political advantage over their rivals and engage in proxy wars to improve their position.

China and the US are engaged in a conflict over financial, intellectual and trade dominance. The trade tariff tiffs are a visible symptom of a much deeper and wider conflict of interests and quest for power. The Russian incursions into Crimea and eastern Ukraine as well as conflicts between Pakistan and India are more indicators that world powers are not about to cooperate.

We face enormous problems in getting foreign aid to the people who most need it. Dictators, tyrants and war lords intercept aid supplies and funds for their own use.

It is awkward when reality conflicts with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predictions, but no nation can hope to lift itself out of poverty without plentiful and reliable sources of energy. Energy drives water and sewage pump and treatment plants, allows small businesses to flourish and the construction of manufacturing and processing plants which provides for meaningful employment and kick-starts a robust economy.

The demand for energy will continue to increase faster than we can develop sufficiently reliable non-carbon energy sources to change the trend.

The IPCC, governments and the media have tried to make climate change and the environment synonymous which they are not. Climate change is not an environmental issue. Climate change may change our local environment, but the effect will vary from place to place and continent to continent.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is essential to life on earth. Without adequate levels of atmospheric CO2, plants cannot live. Without plants to process CO2 and produce oxygen, animal life, which includes humans, cannot survive. We have gone overboard claiming that carbon dioxide is a dirty and evil pollutants when it is a necessity for life on earth.

Squadrons of internet savvy students have the power and ability to establish the realities of our changing climate. There are tens of thousands of scientific papers that deal with various aspects of our climate and environment.

Scientists have studied the effects of solar radiation and have mapped out the effects of solar storms and flares on our climate.

Our sun has effects on everything from charging the upper atmosphere to create northern and southern light displays to changing the shape of the earth through gravitational pull.

As our earth gradually cools internally, the core shrinks but the mantle is rigid creating underground voids that eventually rise to the surface. When a void is close enough to the surface, sink holes are created as the mantle adjusts to global shrinkage.

Our earth is not the round globe depicted in classroom models. The equator bulges and shrinks somewhat depending on our orbital proximity to the sun causing the earth to elongate at times which in turn puts pressure on our tectonic plates that can trigger earthquakes.

Today’s students are our future scientists and political leaders. They need to arm themselves with critical thinking, skepticism and closely examine the conventional wisdoms they have inherited. Our advances in science over the past quarter century are breathtaking. We have better understanding of our earth and how it works than ever before.

It is disturbing that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has ignored all scientific research and strictly adheres to theories on the link between atmospheric carbon and global temperatures it developed thirty years ago.

Our political class has ignored IPCC warnings and have not given warnings the attention they deserve. That attention includes a serious study of how the IPCC reached the conclusions it did.

Governments and politicians will not be motivated to act by protests and strikes. They are deeply entrenched in following past political patterns based on a four-year election cycle. While they talk of improvements by 2025, 2030 or 2050 ... they do so without conviction.  Their primary concerns are upcoming elections, and whether they will survive to remain in office.

The IPCC has been sounding the alarm for thirty years and we are bogged down in avoidance and lethargy. The IPCC accords and plans are stalled and dying. Rather than wasting another decade trying to coerce nations into working together, we need to produce a better plan that people can understand and get behind.

Our leaders are leaders in name only. They have acquired the positions of leading nations, but their main motivations are focused on (1) retaining their positions and power without the risks of making unpopular decisions; and (2) improving their image on the national and international stage.

Our students and youth can do the world a great service by throwing their energies into a better understanding of the forces that drive climate change and how we can best adapt to the inevitable effects.

They can map out a bright future for themselves, their peers and all the world without depending on politicians and governments.

Our students and youth can educate themselves, and older generations, on topics where our education system is failing us.

Knowledge is power.

Education and research lead to knowledge and that knowledge empowers people to change the direction of societies and the world.

Are we up for it?

The Way I See It ~~ John Feldsted
Political Commentator, Consultant & Strategist
Winnipeg, Manitoba


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