COLUMNS: Changing the planet

Great-grandson #5 arrived early Friday morning, he and his mom were home with brother and dad early Friday afternoon.

Great-grandson #5 arrived early Friday morning, he and his mom were home with brother and dad (plus numerous relatives) early Friday afternoon. He had his eyes wide open when I got to cuddle him and he was sucking his thumb.

I can’t help wondering what the world will be like when he’s my age.

We hear a lot about climate change these days but how many of us know we are living in the Anthropocene Age? I’m not sure I even pronounce it correctly. According to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the professional organization which defines the Earth’s time scale, we are officially in the Holocene (“entirely recent”) epoch, which began 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age. However, many say this is outdated as human activity is now changing the face of the earth.

So are we really changing the planet? Scientists and others from all walks of life say yes. Advocates for the Anthropocene designation say human activity is a huge influence on the planet’s environment, climate and ecology. We’ve dug a gazzilion holes looking for coal and oil, polluted our oceans, lakes, rivers, and atmosphere, cut down our forests, and caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species. The impacts of these activities will remain for eons. So does it matter? And if it does, what to do about it? Well, one suggestion is that united global action and decision making is necessary. but our current international laws and intergovernmental institutions just aren’t up to the task. We need a world parliament to develop a just and environmentally sustainable world order. That means a federal world government that would depend on co-operation between world citizens and the realization by countries that the time has come for a democratic world government.

When it’s taken years for few friendly countries to reach a trade agreement (CETA), how long would it take to reach a world government? Could it happen in GGS#5’s lifetime?

***

I had zero trick and treaters, same as last year. The 9th Ave. family had 167, way down from last year.

Diana French is a freelance columnist, former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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