Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians go digital with a climate strike since the pandemic. (Photos submitted)

Earth Guardians’ position requires further explanation

Realistic, practical solutions required when describing problems

The following is a response to Ellie Barnhart’s Sept. 24, 2020 letter in the Courier:

‘Climate emergency stems from decades of inaction’ was written in response to Gelb’s Sep. 10 letter ‘Climate emergencies have become highly politicized.’

Dear Ms. Barnhart,

I appreciate your thoughtful and articulate response to my letter in which you clarify your position regarding funding. So, it appears that of the groups I referenced, notably, One Cowichan, Transition Cowichan and CVRD, your group, Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians are not funded, but are a team of dedicated volunteers. I stand corrected and I applaud your resourcefulness in raising funds.

I am interested to learn more and here are my questions:

In the Aug. 27, 2020 Chemainus Valley Courier, there is photo of ‘Katia Bannister from Cowichan chapter of the Earth Guardians and Jane Kilthei from One Cowichan rolling up a petition … asking the CVRD to declare a climate emergency’.

Kindly explain the goal of declaring (repeated) climate emergencies?

Who decides and how is it decided when a climate emergency needs to be declared?

Do organizations receive funding after declaring an emergency from any government level?

After attending a climate emergency meeting, what changes are demanded of participants?

Are they expected to stop driving cars, plant gardens, sew clothes, shop locally, avoid plastic and scavenge cut wood in forests to reduce use of electricity and gas, for example?

You state ‘by reducing emissions by more than half by 2030, we can get to net-zero by 2050 or before’. Please outline in realistic, practical ways, the steps to achieve this long range goal. If you believe more electric cars are the solution, you are creating the next ecological disaster. To date, there is no way to recycle toxic electric car batteries! In 2017, the over one million electric cars sold worldwide will generate 250,00 tons of discarded battery packs causing ‘thermal runaway’ in landfills, which are potentially explosive.

Further, scientists noted that Canada is a relatively tiny emitter. So, how does the ‘climate emergency’ plan to rein in really big polluters like China, India, Russia?

Next you mention ‘focusing on green recovery from the pandemic’. Humm (ignoring that this echoes the liberal line), explain what is ‘green recovery’ and what are the practical steps involved? Then, clarify the connection between ‘green recovery and global pandemic’, as we await a vaccine. Perhaps a needleless vaccine or one without any plastic made locally to avoid shipping waste? How about planting a tree for everyone vaccinated?

Until explained, this term remains in the ‘political jargon’ file.

Further, from science, we learn about methodology and what is observable and measurable. Yet comically you state, “We know from science that the climate change emergency requires immediate action, but that doesn’t mean we need to panic. We can act responsibly and sustainability”. We know from science! Really! Ms. Barnhart, you are confusing science with political mumbo jumbo again. There is no ‘science’ to implement ‘immediate action’. Scientists share their findings based on evidence and communities decide the course of action. I urge you to stop and reason for yourself.

Then you state ‘we make a point to focus on hands-on, systemic and personal levels of activism’. Systemic? This word is being tossed around way too much these days. It is an adjective, not a noun. However, ‘to focus on hands-on’ is good, especially when you provide real life examples.

I am glad to hear you are an active, aware teenager and I commend your initiative to respond to my letter. I applaud you and your group for super local work such as recycling, beach clean up and workshops. At last, you provided real, practical examples of how you are bringing positive changes to your local environment!

Lastly, I encourage you to always add realistic, practical solutions when describing problems. Changing our world for better requires ‘boots on the ground’ viable solutions, not repeating political jargon. We need objective scientists and realistic solutions. And sadly, politics does get in the way. For decades, the NDP and Greens opposed a Victoria treatment plant to prevent 130 million litres of raw sewage dumped into Juan de Fuca Strait daily.

Fortunately, you will see in your lifetime.

I anticipate your hands-on solutions to my questions.

Elisabeth Gelb,


Climate changeYoung Canadians

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