Climate change is the most important issue of our age. It will be solved by thoughtful action, not by cheap stunts.
On Monday evening, groups called Rise n Resist! and Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island blocked the Johnson Street Bridge in a protest that they said would last 12 minutes, one minute for each year that scientists say we have left to avert environmental catastrophe.
In fact, six of the 200 protesters stayed for two hours, until the police, who showed commendable patience, finally arrested them.
So drivers on their way to or from Esquimalt and Vic West — hardly the nerve centres of Canada’s climate policy — were stuck on the wrong side of the bridge or took detours. While drivers fumed in frustration, their vehicles pumped more greenhouse gases into the air.
How is this self-described “civil disobedience” going to push the provincial or federal governments to take stronger action on climate change? The answer is obvious: It isn’t going to make a particle of difference.
The decision-makers remain unaffected. Ordinary Victorians, on the other hand, are needlessly frustrated.
The protesters have the arrogance to suggest that only they care. They seem to assume that everybody is Donald Trump. Everybody isn’t.
The crisis is in our faces every day, and the solutions are complex. Yes, governments are moving too slowly, but random acts of performance art won’t speed them up.
The groups promise more self-indulgent “actions,” which won’t change any more minds than this one did — at least not in the right direction.
Climate change requires serious decisions and serious actions by serious people; the cause must not be trivialized. Monday’s protest was not serious. It was worse than useless. It was counter-productive.