One is the mayor of Toronto. The other is a man-made condition that is changing the Earth's atmosphere in ways not thought to have existed for at least 800,000 years.
And yet to me, Rob Ford is climate change.
To put this in perspective, Humans, or Homo sapiens, did not reach their full anatomical state until about 200,000 years ago and their modern behavioural state until about 50,000 years ago.
On May 13th, 2013, scientists who have been recording the level of carbon in the earth's atmosphere since 1958 reported that we have passed the 400ppm benchmark that signifies a higher level of CO2 in the atmosphere than there has been in 800,000 years. What this means exactly for the environment from what I've gathered is rising sea levels, more extreme storms, more intense rainfall and droughts and new diseases, to name a few.
So what is the link I'm drawing between Rob Ford and climate change?
They are utterly and fundamentally connected in the sense of how people collectively respond.
It is so much easier to distort facts to maintain the status quo. The human species has evolved to equip each individual with the power of choice and denial, amongst other things.
Educated and powerful people still claim that climate change does not exist. Or if they acknowledge that it does, they do nothing.
Rob Ford, despite being arrested in 1999 for DUI and marijuana possession, in 2006 was thrown out of a hockey game for being drunk and belligerent, in 2008 was charged with assault against his wife, with charges eventually dropped, Christmas Day 2011 his mother-in-law called police because Mr. Ford had been drinking and threatening to kidnap his children, shall I go on? Here is 20 Things Worth Knowing About Rob Ford by NY Magazine....and still many believe he is an honest man with no substance abuse issues.
And today the Globe and Mail has broken as story about the brother Doug Ford having been a hashish dealer and other family involvement in the drug trade.
Still a lot of people support Rob Ford and don't believe that the video of him smoking crack is real. They accuse the media of being morally bankrupt and sensationalist.
Do I need to make a similar compilation of facts about climate change? It reads the same. A chain of events so obvious in truth and meaning, and yet routinely overlooked and denied. Did you know that scientists noticed changes in climate and made predictions as far back as the early 19th century? Now in the 21st century, no headlines are needed to notice extreme weather and changing climate patterns. And yet, there are still deniers, oddly who also blame the left-wing media for being sensationalist and communist.
How many people actively try to consume less, drive less, travel on airplanes less, eat less meat and demand action from governments and corporations to adhere to existing environmental policy? Not enough, and sadly when they do, they are branded and put outside of the blinkered mainstream.
To have 1/3 of the city of Toronto vote against the mayor is not enough. To have 1/3 of the population take action against climate change is not enough.
And so what is my message here? One of doom and gloom? One of accusation and reprehension? Frustration?
The world is so beautiful, was so perfect. It is changing and we must change with it or die. We must adapt. Evolve.
To evolve means we cannot continue this pattern of self-destruction. We cannot allow members of our community and society get away with rampant greed and corruption.
If we are to survive as a species, we need to work together. Distribute wealth more evenly. Otherwise, we will be left with a world full of pain and suffering.
Maybe we are all like Rob Ford and make promises to ourselves and others that we cannot keep. We wash away the fear and the pain through consuming too much (although really, Rob Ford does go to the extreme). We love too much our freedom of travel that is so highly toxic. If we believe hard enough that we don't have to change, that we're not drug-addicts, then maybe it won't be real. Especially if everyone around you believes that too.