Globally we are in a climate crisis. We are also in the Anthropocene extinction, the current and ongoing extinction of species as a result of human activity. If we continue to do business as usual we will become extinct. I am not willing to let that happen without a fight, so we need to embrace the Green New Deal.
Climate scientists (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) are sounding the alarm. We must keep global warming below 1.5 C. We are seeing the results of global warming all across the globe, including here in Canada. There were devastating forest fires in B.C. in 2017 and 2018, the forest fire that wiped out parts of Fort McMurray, the flooding in Calgary and much more. Those events will continue to escalate, happening with greater frequency and intensity.
I recently visited a friend in Prince George. She suffered terribly from inhaling forest fire smoke. She is one of many.
Last year I visited Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon. We walked beside the North Klondike River. There was ice on the far side that is millions of years old. We watched parts of it calve off into the river. The temperature was 31C. The Arctic is heating up. Researchers describe how warming in the Arctic, which is heating up 2.4 times faster than the Northern Hemisphere average, is triggering a cascade of changes in everything from when plants flower to where fish and other animal populations can be found.
Warmer temperatures have shifted forest and tundra growing seasons, boosted rain and snowfall, increased melting, accelerated glaciers and possibly even increased the number of lightning strikes that could increase the risk of Arctic wildfires in the tundra and boreal forest, clearly a signal of climate warming.
Governments and individuals need to take action. There is plenty we can do.
-invest in and subsidize renewable energy.
-retrofit automobile plants to make electric vehicles (which happily I am seeing more and more of on our roads).
-build more and better public transportation.
All of the jobs created by these can be filled by many people including people who currently work in the oil and gas industry. The government should provide funding and education for them to transition.
Indigenous people have important knowledge about mitigating climate change, and their rights should be upheld as stated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Affordable housing is another area that can help to mitigate climate change. There is an excellent example, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, that is Passive House Certified, which incorporates initiatives and technologies that reduce energy use and operational costs over conventional building standards. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2018/affordable-homes-indigenous-people-open-nanaimo
The service sector in Canada supports a great number of jobs that are low carbon. The Green New Deal recognizes them and would provide increased funding after years of cuts. Our communities would become stronger and more caring.
The Green New Deal not only tackles the climate crisis. It includes implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and stopping the rise of racism. Now is the time for us to come together as one and give it everything we’ve got. Thank you in advance for embracing the Green New Deal.