You don't need a high paying job with a high profile company, nor do you need to invent the next big revolutionary green technology. In fact, you can make a very decent living and achieve a comfortable degree of wealth while working in the environmental area and living a low impact lifestyle. I know because... well, I know people who have done it.
On the first day of February 2006, a landmark agreement that has been called "one of the most visionary forest conservation plans on Earth" was inked by First Nations elders, the provincial government and environmentalists. Eighty five per cent of the Great Bear Rainforest -- at 3.1 million hectares, an area roughly twice the size of Vancouver Island -- is permanently off limits to logging.
Canada fell woefully short of 2012 emissions targets and in December 2011 became the only country to pull out of Kyoto, the world's only binding climate treaty. That was in the dark decade of Stephen Harper. Prime Minister Trudeau led a younger, far more optimistic and enlightened entourage to Paris.
While the leaders of the world meet in Paris and craft sweeping policy that affects the entire planet, let's remember that the most important changes usually happen close to home. I've seen the positive things solar and energy efficiency can do for communities. So when we started a big infrastructure refurbishment project at Evansdale Community League, I knew exactly what to push for.
Fossil fuel companies have not managed to get a much coveted seat at the actual negotiating table during COP decision-making. But they are lobbying so hard that they hope politicians will come up with pro-industry solutions. A growing number of public interest groups want the fossil fuel lobby barred from the UN process.
Without the forest and the economic activity it generates, the North Shore, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and all the other forest regions of Quebec would not have experienced the same level of economic development that has benefited all Quebecers. However, forestry activity could fall sharply in the fairly near future.
90 per cent of all new wells drilled in B.C. that would supply the province's proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry will be fracked. Fracking demands massive amounts of freshwater, industrializes large areas of northeast B.C. and has major impacts on the climate. So, how is the B.C. government getting away with touting this industry as a "clean" energy resource?
What the conservative government fails to realize is that scientists are public servants. Which means they work for the people of Canada, not the elected party. They are paid via tax dollars, just as politicians are, to perform a service that betters our country. Canada needs science to exist. It's importance cannot be measured by profit margins or popularity. I get it; that makes it difficult to justify spending. Especially since science is not a cheap pursuit, but I guarantee you, it is the most worthwhile pursuit of our time.
The environmental issue of our time is climate change, and Canada's government under the leadership of Stephen Harper has failed at every opportunity to address this issue. Does this failure mean that the last decade has been a failure for the environment? No. Fortunately, there has been leadership elsewhere. Canadians are often doing the right thing to reduce our impact on the planet, without legislation.
Countries pledging to take serious action on climate change are also party to, or are aggressively negotiating, trade and investment deals that contain a mechanism that gives large corporations the right to challenge any changes to the current rules under which they operate -- be they environmental, health or human rights -- that negatively affect corporations' bottom line. ISDS essentially grants corporations equal status to governments in these negotiations and privatizes the dispute settlement system between nations.