Global American Responsibility
A few days ago, I, a Canadian, was asked by my friend Candace, an American, what I thought of President Obama. My answer was, “He is infinitely better than Bush, but likely not good enough to save the world.” This had led to her new question: “Why does saving the world fall on America’s shoulders?” And here is my long standing answer:
1. America has always prided itself to be “the most powerful nation in the world”, so use this power for the common good. Follow America’s own saying, “With the power comes the responsibility.”
2. By volume America and China are the top polluters and GHG emitters in the world; USA & China, at least clean up your own acts!
3. On a per-capita basis, Americans, along with Canadians, are the most rampant consumers of Earth’s finite and dwindling resources today, while the average Chinese consumes less than 10% of what an average America/Canadian does; Americans and Canadians, about time to voluntarily cut back!
4. America has always prided itself of its “American ingenuity”; so use it, if it is still there.
5. America can’t produce enough beef for its own meat-eaters nor enough ethanol for its SUVs, so it imports beef and ethanol from Brazil, and Brazil burns down thousand of sq. miles of virgin Amazon rainforest every year for more cattle farms and soy plantations; meaning that America is responsible for the destruction of the Amazon; the damage here exceeds America’s own geographical bounds, so America cannot use closed-door policies.
6. America and China can’t produce enough of their own oil, and buy huge quantities from Canada, which Canada extracts out of the filthy tar sands, making of northern Alberta’s entire Athabasca watershed a huge cancinogen. All of America (with its hoards of Big Oil companies), China (dumping $1.8B into the tar sands) and Canada, are guilty of this “worst industrial disaster in the world”.
7. The biggest oil companies (except BP) – the most environmentally destructive corporations in the world – are America-based, which, besides being the worst corporate GHG emitters, have spent $200M on global warming denial.
8. Finally, if Americans insist on looking after only their own self-interest, they should heed this: If the world goes down the chute, America will go down the chute with it.
If America cannot or does not want to lead the world, then please step aside so that others can, instead of insisting on standing in the leadership position, while blocking other nations’ progress. At Copenhagen, European nations are ready and willing to go much farther in GHG cuts than the America and China. And the prove solid case of America non-leadership is George W. Bush.
Back to my original statement, by which I still stand: “Obama is infinitely better than Bush, but likely not good enough to save the world.” Of course, against Sarah Palin, Obama gets my Canadian vote.
Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)