Almost 20 years ago, in 1988, over 300 scientists and policy-makers from 46 different countries and organizations came together to discuss the crisis of climate change in Toronto. It was called “The Toronto Conference,” and their final statement began with the following sentence: “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment, whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war.”
In other words, they were a little concerned. At the time, you might have said Toronto was a centre of environmental leadership, but the fact that very few of us have even heard about that international conference suggests that maybe we’ve slipped backwards since then (or never really gained traction in the first place).
That could be changing. Today, however, drab international conferences have been replaced with exciting celebrity power! (Hey, whatever gets the job done.) This month, Toronto welcomes not just one high-profile environmental speaker (Al Gore’s sold-out event at UofT, based on the highest grossing PowerPoint presentation of all time), but two, as David Suzuki stops in on his cross-Canada tour. (Side note: when one of our contributors first heard about this, he thought he read “David Cross’ Suzuki Canada Tour,” which would have also been cool. Someday….)
Another metric of Toronto greenness could be the number of councillor and mayoral candidates who signed the PledgeTOGreen during the last municipal campaign, though of course whether or not any real action comes of it remains to be seen.
Either way, we’re on our way back to a 1988 level of awareness. You’re forgiven for thinking that’s a bitter-sweet accomplishment, but it’s something.
P.S. Yes, Torontoist knows that Gore uses an Apple, and therefore does not use brand-name PowerPoint. But “highest-grossing Keynote presentation of all time” just doesn’t flow, ya know?
Photo by Mute* in the Torontoist Flickr Pool.