Sometimes I wish I could be a climate skeptic. It would be such a relief to remain optimistic about the future of the world -- despite all the evidence to the contrary. On Friday the world's top scientists released their latest gloomy assessment of global warming and the message was clear: we need to find a way to stop burning fossil fuels or risk imperilling the planet.
We know that a just and sustainable future is about more than clean energy and bike lanes. It means recognizing, acknowledging and working with Indigenous communities to challenge a continuing legacy of colonization and injustice. Stopping climate change may be the means that we come together, but justice is the goal.
Foreign markets are buying up our resources, corporations are getting rich, and average Canadians are taking on all the risk. Unfortunately, Canada has a poor record of enforcement against oil companies, and prosecutes less than one per cent of environmental violations in the oil sands. Because of changes to the NEB Act last year, Canadians must do tremendous paperwork to have their voices heard, but some are fighting back.
The 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk taking place in Fort McMurray, Alberta this July 5-6, is an important opportunity for Canadians, and people from all over the world, to get a sense of the land at the heart of the largest unsustainable development project on the planet. Now it's time for Minister Oliver and Premier Redford to recognize their own responsibility, and meet some the people most directly impacted by the decisions made in Ottawa and Edmonton. It is time for them to get out of their cars and walk like regular folks through an area they aren't shy about selling on a global stage.
President Obama's Climate Action Plan, amounts to a strong signal that Canada's "business as usual" days are numbered. It looks like the United States is taking serious action on all these fronts, as promised. Our own government has said it would "wait and see" before following suit. The waiting is now over. Game on.
We're seeing the rise of one of the largest and fastest growing student-led environmental movements in decades. As students and youth, we know what's at stake if we don't act swiftly to move away from fossil fuels and build a sustainable world today -- after all we will inherit the mistakes being made today.
Does this wacky weather have you concerned? Record high temperatures, floods, superstorms, and drought -- climate change has landed squarely on our front doorstep. I'm concerned. I think most of us know that we have to take action, but unfortunately the political establishment has its head buried in the sand.
I'm worried that the experience of a white Christmas is slowly disappearing for most Canadians. According to Environment Canada, the probability of a white Christmas has decreased by 15 per cent for most of the country since the 1960s. Perhaps it's time we start to think about ways to preserve these pastimes. Doing so will help maintain the Canadian experience, and fight the dangerous impacts of climate change at the same time.
If we want to see change from negotiations, we need to see fundamental changes in the way decisions are actually made. Politicians and bureaucrats with connections to oil and gas profiteers are not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it is in their bank accounts' best interest to pollute. This holiday season give the gift of climate justice. Give the gifts of solidarity, resistance, and community power.
We are living in a world that is nearly a degree warmer than the average over the past 100 years. The realities of a one-degree world are harsh. Canada has taken a global position to ensure that emissions grow far and above the climate limit, a limit that they were a part of setting in 2009. So what is going to be our climate legacy?
The spin from the federal government on this year's Canada's Emissions Trends report was that Canada is making "significant progress" towards its emissions targets, and this progress is the "result" of federal climate policies. While there is some good news in the report, the federal government is overstating its own efforts to tackle greenhouse gas pollution and understating the challenge facing federal and provincial governments in reaching our climate commitments.