Northern Gateway Drug

Stephen Harper seems hellbent on converting Canada into one of the human-rights-abusing petrostates that, in comparison, make our oil “ethical.” Using McCarthiest tactics to brand environmental groups opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline as foreign stogies, when the forces behind that pipeline have significant foreign money behind them is disingenuous at best. Harper would just as well have no inquiry and get on with building a disaster waiting to happen, further trashing our precarious environment and many people’s livelihoods and lives. (The Globe published a strong column – albeit relegated to the weather page – on Harper’s hypocrisy that’s worth a read.)

This is just the tip of the blackened, melting iceberg. So many forces seem in collusion to try to tear as much wealth from the ground as quickly as possible before it’s all gone that it’s hard to know where to start yelling “stop!” It’s enough to want to make you want to give up and pop a happy pill. Which, perhaps not coincidentally, is what more and more people are doing. Or diving in to the blissful ignorance encouraged by our insta-grat world o’ screens.

As I was in the process of penciling this cartoon, I read Elizabeth’s Renzetti’s article in the Globe that made a similar point: apocalyptic films and cults are popular; actual news of our impending demise is not. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists just moved its doomsday clock minute hand closer to midnight. The threat had been eased to six minutes due to Obama and Medvedev’s moves to reduce their nuclear weapon stockpiles. In mid-January, it moved to five minutes. Who noticed? I wouldn’t have, without Renzetti’s column. As she concludes,

Never mind Mayan soothsayers and Biblical ranters – this is the real stuff of nightmares. And unlike God’s wrath, there is actually something to be done about it.

Still, it doesn’t seem that anybody is. That constant sense of inaction and dread makes me depressed. My therapist might cite other grounds. Lord knows, they are myriad. But if the demise of our planet isn’t a valid cause for clinical depression, I don’t know what is. Hence this cartoon.

(There are a number of articles online about the climate change equivalent of Seasonal Affecitve Disorder, though not much. A right-wing post derides such talk and contains typical, laughable deniers’ comments, including this one:

The weather has ALWAYS been changing. Just one example will suffice: there is a reason why Greenland is called that; invoking human guilt is of no help. There was no Tea Party when the forests of Greenland gave way to glaciers, snow and ice.

Yes, no Tea Party, and no humans either; it happened long before any humans were around to name it.)

Anyway, the cartoon above is an update of a sequence of comic strips I did nearly five years ago about Horst. I thought I’d include them here. A few gags remain.

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