ENVIRONMENTAL REVOLUTION: The new era of environmentalism and why it's now on
the international agenda.
We feature this week Brian's conversation with writer Thomas Homer-Dixon about
what he describes as the looming crisis facing our Fragile Planet, as well as
reports from the CBC's Beijing based-correspondent Michel Cormier, and the
CBC's Toronto-based Joan Leishman about how different countries are meeting
the environmental challenge
There were times when the media paid little attention to environmental stories.
Governments, for that matter, also gave the issue low priority. Those seem like
ancient days, now. The state of the environment is of top interest among
Canadians and the news media and governments are playing a frantic game of
catch up as we watch our fragile planet change significantly within the span of
our own lifetimes.
A sign of the change in viewpoint, certainly, was when "An Inconvenient Truth",
a film about Al Gore's lonely crusade to educate people about the perils of
global warming, won an academy award this year for best documentary. The former
Vice President, long dismissed as a policy wonk on the environment, is now
something of a folk hero, as he takes his message about green-thinking around
the Globe. Even two decades ago, Gore was an early warning voice on
environmental challenges, so what a vindication for him to see a kind of an
environmental revolution catch on with increasing force.
The Canadian writer, Thomas Homer Dixon, based at the University of Toronto, is
another former voice in the wilderness. He has been talking for years about a
coming collapse caused by global warming, energy scarcity, widening gaps
between rich nations and poor ones and the need for western societies to
rethink their dependencies on oil and other limited resources, and become more
resilient and innovative and , well, green. Brian recently sat down for a
conversation with Thomas Homer Dixon and they talked about this new era in
environmental consciousness and why it's a cause for hope.
Western societies are increasingly aware and vocal about global warming, in
particular, but there is some hypocrisy to all of this, poorer nations say.
Take, for instance China. Millions of people there hope to attain the lifestyle
of the middle-class for the first time ever. That means cars, and modern
appliances, and all the things we take for granted in the West and which
contribute to global warming and pollution.The Chinese citizen has a right to
aspire to an easier life, but the cost to the environment, just because of the
enormous size of the population, is terrifying.We have a report from the CBC's
Beijing-based correspondent Michel Cormier about China's looming environmental
After that, so as to not leave you discouraged, we leave you with a report by
CBC reporter Joan Leishman about how some Canadians are making a difference by
shopping for clean energy sources.