Thursday, April 26, 2007

Weather watch and the media

Two items from the Canadian media. The first is a well-written commentary by Peter Worthington that I suspect reflects the real feeling of the non-ideological electorate: i.e. those that actually decide any election. The second is a report on the severe ice conditions (the worst in 15 years) that have trapped sealing ships off Newfoundland. These follow on the wide range of media reports on Earth Day, all of which alluded to small crowds "braving the cold weather conditions".

Yes, I know: weather is not climate, but for that same voting, ideologically non-aligned, public majority, the weather is their climate certainty, their reality. And the reality in North America this Spring is, well, colder than "normal".

I'll say it now and I'll stand by it: no election will ever be fought and won on environmentalism: every party can appear green and fuzzy -- those that isolate themselves as more radical than that do so at their political peril. Hence, all parties say the right things and largely do nothing (sorry, banning light bulbs is nothing but a market intervention, an inconvenience, unnecessary and totally ineffective) because there is nothing government can actually do about large, non-issues -- and most pet environmental ecomyths are by definition, non-issues.

The electorate, if they vote, realize this and look to see which party either they trust most, dislike least or fear most -- the majority are not set in their ideological allegiance but are swayed by the little things in campaigns that leaders do or do not do to create public trust, fear, loathing etc.. Often, many fail to exercise their franchise as they see nothing to distinguish one option from another: certainly the environment will not be that dividing line.