Dear Christy Clark,
After I heard about the announcement that you and Alberta Premier Alison Redford would be jointly working to transform B.C. into a corridor for oil, coal, and fracked natural gas exports I was angry.
I did what I usually do when I'm angry at a politician and decided to tweet snarky comments at you, but when I went to your Twitter page I stopped. Something struck me on your profile. Before it listed your job or the riding you represented it said one word -- "Mom".
I started to wonder: what would I say to you if you were my mother?
I would start by showing you images from the flooding in Toronto and Southern Alberta this summer and explain to you that as climate change worsens, extreme weather and extreme rains are becoming more regular. These storms and floods have taken people's lives, destroyed homes, and ruined the livelihoods of entire families. In Calgary alone, the costs are estimated to be over $250 million from flooding in July. Just in case you're still skeptical, I'd remind you that around the world, the number of people exposed to flooding has increased 114 per cent since 1970.
I would show you this because the Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines would facilitate the addition of over 130 Mt of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, the same as adding roughly 25 million cars onto British Columbia's roads each year.
I would tell you that in the past two years, climate disasters cost the world over $500 billion, and that just this week researchers warned that Arctic ice melt is an "economic time bomb" that is going to cost the world another $60 trillion.
I would tell you this because in British Columbia the provincial average for student debt is $27,000 and we are home to the highest unemployment rate in western Canada -- that rate even higher among youth aged 15 to 24. Facing this, we can't afford to heap the cost of climate inaction or ignorance onto our shoulders.
While we were on the subject of unemployment, I would want you to know that investing in clean energy creates more jobs that investing in fossil fuels by a staggering rate of fifteen to two. That's not including the thousands more jobs we could create in building retrofits, sustainable transportation and forestry that we could make by investing in a just, green economy instead of paving a pathway to climate disaster.
In the end I would show you the underground oil spill near Cold Lake in Northern Alberta that has been uncapped and unstoppable for months. I would show you these photos from the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic where the energy rush fueled disaster. I would play you this video of a community whose water has been destroyed by fracking and I'd ask if you are willing to let me breathe in coal dust every day?
I would tell you all this because when you transform this province into a doorway for tar sands, liquified natural gas from fracking and coal exports you are paving a pathway to climate disaster plain and simple. When you do it knowing what the impacts are, you are choosing the interests of polluters over the well-being of youth and future generations.
Of course you aren't my mother, I hold my family to a higher standard than my politicians. But you are my Premier, and unlike my mother, you have the ability to make decisions that affect my entire generation.
In October, I'll be coming to visit you with hundreds of youth from across British Columbia because we won't stand aside as you turn B.C. into a gateway to climate chaos.
Follow Cameron Fenton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CamFenton