LETTER: Canada must step up to meet challenge of climate change

The ambiguous finale of the World Climate Talks in Glasgow have left many of us a little raw. Not a success — but not a failure.

The hope of keeping “1.5 alive” diminishes with every day of inaction. Some will tell you what we do doesn’t matter; it’s all up to China and India. Tell them that Canada, as one of the top 10 global emitters of greenhouse gases, has a huge role and responsibility.

Canada is a vast and resource-rich country, with a small population.

Given this good fortune, we have an ethical obligation to support poorer countries already experiencing loss and damage due to climate change.

If you’re not motivated by ethics, then consider enlightened self-interest — more than 30 years ago David Suzuki warned what could happen when environmental refugees, with nothing to lose, start arriving on our shores.

We must press our leaders to step up to the challenge ahead. Demand that governments stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry ($1.3 billion in B.C. alone last year), and use those taxpayer dollars to expand green energy.

By applying our research capacity and resources to accelerate a just transition to renewable energy, Canada could become a world leader in green technology. (Think jobs, jobs, jobs.) And, we could enable developing nations (like India and Africa) to leapfrog the industrialization (use of fossil fuels) that has brought the world to the brink of climate collapse.

We must also evaluate our own lifestyles and ecological footprints that contribute to this crisis.

Do you really need to fly for a warm-weather vacation every winter? Does your family need two (or more vehicles)? Could you switch to an electric vehicle? (Very affordable if you factor in the cost of gas.) Better yet, could you cycle, walk, or take the bus? Have you installed a heat pump? Solar panels? Reduced your meat consumption? Started a garden?

The water is high. And our ship is full of holes. We really do need all hands on deck if we are to keep it from sinking.

Karyn Woodland


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