Re: Climate Emergencies Have Become Highly Politicized
We are writing in response to Elisabeth Gelb’s letter of Sept. 8 published in the Courier. Climate change is real, dangerous and requires immediate action. We are in a “Climate Emergency” not because the crisis is unexpected, but because of decades of inaction by our governments and governments around the world.
The problem is everywhere so it can seem both nowhere and overwhelming. The climate emergency must be addressed at every level if our generation is to have a future. Local emission reduction targets may in fact be more realistically and speedily achieved than provincial and federal targets. As a community, we can come together with on-the-ground solutions without partisan politics being as big a barrier – or we can stay as stuck and ineffective as every other level of government.
Our group, the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians crew, co-hosted an online Town Hall earlier this year, focusing on the climate crisis and the importance of a green recovery from the pandemic locally, provincially and across the country. We heard from local, provincial and federal representatives who understand the crisis we are in, but there are some who do not.
Ms. Gelb said that we, and other local groups, are well-funded. Unfortunately, we are not. We make and sell art cards, have collected donations for silent auction baskets and received some individual online donations from supporters for youth climate events. Sometimes a church or local non-profit will let us use a space to host a free community event or loan us equipment, etc. We are all volunteers doing volunteer work in our communities. We are non-partisan and don’t receive government or grant funding at all.
We know from science that the climate emergency requires immediate action, but that doesn’t mean we need to panic. We can act responsibly and sustainably. However, because of years of inaction, the sky may, in a sense, be falling – at least enough to get us to take action. Emergencies are solvable and we have a collective opportunity to help solve this one by reducing our emissions by more than half by 2030, so we can get to net-zero by 2050 or before – which is what we need to have a livable world.
As a local organization, we focus on local issues. We campaign for municipal governments to lower carbon emissions, do restoration work in the Cowichan watershed and promote local recycling. We’ve also done beach cleanups, educational workshops for kids, and more!
Change happens on all levels. We make a point to focus on hands-on, systemic and personal levels of activism. Being teenagers, we have a lot of personal networking experience and a large social media presence. We use these platforms to spread awareness about local and global issues and events.
We appreciate community members reaching out to learn more about what we do. We thank our supporters and fellow activists for spreading awareness and addressing local issues.
Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians