Some things are truly mind-boggling. Just recently our government seemed to come to the starling realization that Canada should boost its immigration quotas because we are heading towards low and even negative population growth. To be fair, Canada has had one of the best immigration records on the planet; per capita we even do better than the great magnet that is the USA — at least we did last time I really looked at the numbers — but, immigration notwithstanding, our fertility rates point to the inevitability of a future population decline.
What boggles me is that it simply isn't news! Approximately twenty years ago, we were aware of this impending scenario in a high school course that I taught. High school, not university, not a think tank full of post-doctorate genii: High School! In fact nothing but a walloping big change in immigration could alter this fact. Given fertility trends — the fact that Canadian women are only bearing about 1.5 children — population decline is almost inevitable. The same trends are occurring in every developed country by the way; and, this process is even further advanced in Europe than it is in North America and Australia.
So, how does this suddenly become newsworthy when my lowly high school students were aware of these trends twenty years ago? It boggles the mind I tell you.
This whole scenario resurfaced in my consciousness just a few days ago when Oprah did a show on Global Warming. Once again, this material is not new, nor should it be news. But it seems that it is. I don't have the time or energy to go into the particulars here, and it's all on her website anyway, but I find it just a tad mind-boggling that not everybody knows about it, really knows about it and is tremendously concerned about it. Once again, high school students in this obscure blogger's classes were very much aware of the Global Warming issue a long, long time ago.
Yes, I know that one scientist in every 49 billion or so, says that s/he doesn't concur. But who wants to take the chance that the almost-solitary naysayer is correct? In overwhelmingly large numbers, scientists believe that human activities are having a tremendous influence on the environment. Back twenty years ago, we were learning that warmer isn't better, that the pace of warming was such that the environment could not properly adjust, that warming meant that weather would be more unpredictable and exacerbated. Droughts might be more frequent and more pronounced, for example; hurricanes too!
I wish to be neither a doomsday prophet nor an "I told you so," kind of guy. All I'm saying is that I shake my head when leaders, countries, and people seemed to be shocked to be now discovering these things — in the year 2005 C.E.
But I will tell you this, however. I will tell you that my hat is off to Oprah. It was just a day or two before that show that I turned to Cuppa and remarked on her great intelligence (Oprah's I mean although I hasten to assure you that Cuppa is a clever lady too). By times, I would like to throttle her (once again, Oprah, not Cuppa) for interrupting her guests ad nauseam, and I have sometimes suggested to Cuppa that Oprah might just as well interview herself every day. But she is a very smart lady, and, beyond that, she is wise. And she has a voice, a very big voice. As she educates the public, perhaps the politicians will begin to do their jobs.
Perhaps I am dreaming, but Good On Ya anyway, Oprah.
(It boggles my mind how many times I used "mind-boggling" in this blog.)