Celebrating Federal Environment Minister McKenna’s contributions to Canada

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“Hello, this is 9-1-1, how may we help you?”

“I’d like to report an emergency.”

“Can you tell me what’s happened and where? Are there any injuries?”

“Certainly. What’s happened is that hundreds of years ago people started burning coal, which made things better, so they burned more, and then there were a lot more people, then they discovered oil, which caused a lot of development and then there were a lot more people, and now they are using so much of it that the world might warm up 2 degrees in 50 years.”

“Well…thanks for the background, I guess. I’m not sure what you’re getting at… does anyone require immediate medical attention?”

“Oh heavens, yes. Where do I start. It’s really hot in Europe because of climate change and they need…”

“Air-conditioning?”

“That’s for sure. I mean no, that’s the problem. It’s bad if they all get it…OK forget them. Forget people in fact, they’re the problem. There are lots of others that are most definitely in danger, like whales. The climate emergency is threatening a bunch of whales off the coast, well indirectly threatening them anyway, because more tanker traffic will kill the off.”

“Oh yes, I just saw that in the news! What is it, six whales dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence struck by tankers. Yes, I’m starting to see how that could kind of fit the definition of an emergency…”

“No no, not those ones. Those are east coast whales. The problem is on the west coast and its orca whales that we’re worried about. East coast whales are, I don’t know, somehow not that big of a deal… Look, it’s complicated. Just forget the whales. Children are at risk and they need help immediately. There’s this one Swedish kid that’s really depressed and I think needs some kind of psychological attention. Even my own children are despondent because their future is so hopeless.”

“Where did they get that idea?”

“From me.”

“Why would you tell them that?”

“Their teachers said it too. We need to act and now. We need to get off fossil fuels immediately or civilization is pretty much over.”

“Oh ok, now we’re talking. Now we’re on common ground, that’s what I’m trained to do in urgent situations – act. Let’s see, I’ll walk you through a few questions and then we can get this under control. The main thing is to stay calm ok? Can you do that for me?”

“I’ll try but it’s really hard.”

“I know. Emergencies are incredibly stressful. What we have to do is break this down into smaller tasks we can focus on, are you with me so far?”

“Yes, yes.”

“All right, good good. Now, let me think…I’m thinking about fossil fuels and what you can do quickly. If you have a gas leak in your house the first thing to do is evacuate and get professionals in to shut off the gas flow. The situation you’re describing is a little different though, it sounds like you can control the flow yourself. So that’s as good a place as any to start. What you need to do is shut off the natural gas line to your house. Next you need to take your car keys and either flush them down the toilet or throw them in a river if one is handy. These are some immediate steps you can take to start slowing the bleeding. After that I can help you go through your house and we’ll immediately put a halt to anything that is exacerbating this problem and prolonging the emergency.”

“Whoa whoa whoa. This is a global emergency. Those things won’t make any difference. We need to think bigger, like stopping the world from using fossil fuels immediately. I’m not talking about me.”

“Well you said it was an emergency! Is this a real emergency? Because an emergency requires immediate action to deal with the problem at hand. That’s kind of what ‘emergency’ means, if I remember correctly from training.”

“Yes, but it is a real emergency, the federal government said so. And the news says the same thing all over the place.”

“Well, I’m searching through my old 9-1-1 training manual and it says pretty clearly that an emergency is ‘a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action’.”

“Yes exactly! That’s what I’m talking about. The feds say it requires immediate action.”

“So, you’re proposing getting off fossil fuels on a global basis as a way to deal with this emergency?”

“Yes! You got it.”

“How long do you think that will take?”

“Thirty years.”

“What??”

“Some people say 12 years but I don’t think so. That sounds crazy. I mean, my car’s finance period alone is 84 months and I’m keeping that sucker for a good while. It’s one sweet ride.”

“Umm, I’m trying to find the chapter that deals with sort of, you know, multi-decade emergencies. As emergency responders, we only deal with things that require immediate and urgent action.”

“Exactly. That’s what we need to do.”

“So go shut off your natural gas line.”

“No.”

“What? Why not?”

“I don’t want to. It’s barbecue season. And I think there’s stuff in the dryer.”

“Well this is totally weird because I’m trained to tell you what to do but you won’t do it. OK, I guess you’re going to have to give me a tour of your house to tell me what’s happening and we can find some things to deal with immediately, which makes me feel like I’m doing my job at least. So, what can you see that we could change that will stop the bleeding?”

“Hmm…just scanning the room here and I don’t see much I would want to live without…I’ll check the fridge…”

“Listen, I don’t care if you’re hungry. This is getting silly. You do know you’re tying up a 9-1-1 line, right? And that it’s a criminal offence to do that if it’s not a real emergency?”

“Haha. Who would charge me? It was the government that said it’s an emergency. Are they going to charge me for taking them seriously?”

“Bazinga! You got me there! OK can you hold for one second please?”

[Operator switches to another line: “I’m sorry, we’re having an overload of calls this morning…yes just apply pressure and the bleeding should stop soon… Oh wow, I bet that is pretty gross, yeah…Maybe Uber to a hospital? Good luck!”]

“OK I’m back, apologies for the delay.”

“That’s ok it gave me time to go through some stuff and I found something exciting I might do to help with the emergency.”

“Oh, good, what’s that?”

“I’m going to join an environmental protest group and start blocking highways until we get attention. They’re doing it in London and it’s getting mega attention.”

“Those actions are dangerous, they can seriously impede first responders trying to get to real emergencies.”

“I’m getting a headache.”

“Me too. How about I erase this call and it never happened?”

“Yes please.”

“Have a great day.”

Originally published at BOE Report

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2 Comments

  1. primeshop says:

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    Like

  1. […] “Well…thanks for the background, I guess. I’m not sure what you’re getting at…” And it gets weirder… […]

    Like

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