David Suzuki asks you to vote for climate action on October 21. This video is in partnership with Artists for Real Climate Action a non-partisan group of actors, filmmakers, writers, musicians, directors and others who are encouraging voters to talk to politicians, friends and family about the issue of climate change. For more information about Artists for Real Climate Action visit: https://www.thisisnotadrill.ca
In 1989, I hosted a CBC radio series, It’s a Matter of Survival, featuring interviews with almost 150 scientists and environmental experts from around the world. Their warning was consistent and stark: Human beings were causing unprecedented changes to Earth’s systems, the detrimental effects were already taking shape, and people would need to reinvent how we live, consume, use energy and move around in order to avoid a looming global crisis.
The public response was impressive. In this pre-internet era, the CBC received 16,000 handwritten letters from listeners eager to act on climate change and other environmental issues. (This would eventually lead to the David Suzuki Foundation’s creation.)
That was 30 years ago.
No amount of evidence is ever enough to convince climate science deniers — including the politicians among them. But new studies and observations should at least persuade those who profess to understand global heating but appear not to grasp its severity that it’s time to start deploying the many available solutions.
We’ve already pumped such huge volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and destroyed so many natural systems that sequester excess carbon that we’re missing the window to shift gradually to renewable energy and lighten our impact on Earth’s natural systems.
This year, Europe has reeled under the highest temperatures ever recorded, the Arctic is burning, cities in Africa and India are running out of water and more than half the U.S. has been under excessive heat warnings. Scientists say global average temperatures for June and July are the hottest on record. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005, and the past five years were the hottest — mainly because of human activity.
Do these records simply reflect natural cycles, as the “skeptics” would have us believe? No. Three recent studies published in Nature and Nature Geoscience show temperatures have not risen this quickly and extensively for at least 2,000 years. By examining evidence from proxy records such as tree rings, pollen trapped in lake mud, cave formations, ice cores and sediment from all continents, researchers concluded that periods like the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period were not global phenomena but localized shifts that affected less than half the world and varied over time and geography.
Many previous climatic shifts were caused by volcanic eruptions, which triggered different changes — mostly cooling — over different regions, but those don’t match the scale and speed of heating over the past few decades.
The research also confirms, along with many other studies, the 1998 “hockey stick” graph devised by scientists including Michael Mann at Penn State University, which showed a sharp spike in global temperatures starting in the 20th century.
“The familiar maxim that the climate is always changing is certainly true,” University of Minnesota, Minneapolis paleoclimatologist Scott St. George wrote in a Nature article. “But even when we push our perspective back to the earliest days of the Roman Empire, we cannot discern any event that is remotely equivalent — either in degree or extent — to the warming over the past few decades.” (St. George was not involved with the research.)
Despite the overwhelming evidence, many people we elect to represent our interests aren’t acting quickly enough — and some not at all. Even those who speak to the necessity of reining in global heating continue to promote further fossil fuel development, ignoring alarming statistics about temperature rise and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.
Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg recently told French politicians she never hears journalists, politicians, or businessmen mention the dire numbers. “It’s almost like you don’t even know these numbers exist. As if you haven’t even read the latest IPCC report, on which much of the future of our civilization is depending. Or perhaps you are simply not mature enough to tell it like it is. Because even that burden, you leave to us children,” she said.
Rather than advocating for economic diversification and growing clean tech opportunities in the face of climate chaos and declining prospects for coal, oil and gas, many Canadian politicians continue to exaggerate the economic importance of dirty bitumen and fracked gas and downplay the negative consequences of processing, transporting and burning them. Even proven methods for slowing global heating, such as carbon pricing, have become contentious.
We no longer have time to piss around. There’s room for discussion about the most effective ways to address the climate crisis, but ultimately we have to deploy every solution available and keep developing new ones — including energy conservation and efficiency, carbon pricing, public transit, vehicle and industrial electrification, clean energy technologies, education and family planning to empower women and slow population growth, reducing consumerism and more.
If we want Earth to remain habitable for humans and other life that makes ours possible, we must make tough choices, promote solutions and become more politically engaged. SOURCE
What a whirlwind couple of weeks it’s been! From Vancouver to Halifax, The Leap traveled coast to coast for 6 SOLD OUT STOPS of our Green New Deal for All Tour.
To those of you who could join us in person, thank you for showing that thousands of people are ready to fight for a Green New Deal rooted in justice and Indigenous sovereignty.
And to everyone we heard from, who wants to be part of this growing movement but couldn’t make it out to an event in person, we have something for you!
This is the movement we’ve been waiting for, and working towards, for years. Like the Leap Manifesto, the Green New Deal is a jobs and justice program that offers solutions to the climate crisis that are actually as big and bold as we need. But this time around, the Green New Deal is being pushed by a massive, multi-generational movement.
As Naomi Klein said when she kicked off our tour in Toronto, “When the future of life is at stake, there is nothing we cannot achieve. We will win a Green New Deal. We will win it because we have to.”
The tour may have ended, but our work is far from over. Thank you again for making our last two weeks so powerful — we’re excited and determined to keep fighting for a Green New Deal for All with you.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks! Our Green New Deal for All tour has been sold out at nearly every stop, including over 800 people in Toronto and 500 in Halifax.
Thousands of people are signing up with our tour partners, 350.org and the national youth-led campaign Our Time, to organize for a Green New Deal. And while we wish we could stop in every community from coast to coast, we have just two more to go: Vancouver and Winnipeg.
Our Vancouver tour stop is going to be an incredible night, with this line-up of powerhouse speakers: Kanahus Manuel, David Suzuki, Harsha Walia, Avi Lewis, and Anjali Appadurai.
The event will begin at 7pm PT / 10pm ET. And don’t worry — if you miss the livestream as it’s happening, it will be kept as a recording on The Leap’s YouTube channel.
Second town hall meeting set for City Centre Community Centre on Monday, June 24
David Suzuki and Naomi Klein discussed a Green New Deal for Canada at the Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Photo by Chris Katsarov
The Canadian version [of the Green New Deal] is adding more emphasis on the inclusion of Indigenous practices.
The Green New Deal “must be based on Indigenous knowledge and science and cut Canada’s emissions in half in 11 years,” according to the Council of Canadians, one of many partnering groups.
Pam Palmater, Maria Menezes, and supporters of the Our Time organization listen during the Green New Deal town hall at Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Photo by Chris Katsarov
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report last October saying global warming requires “rapid and far-reaching” infrastructure transitions. The UN report, completed by leading climate scientists, warns that without serious action to lower CO2 emissions within 11 years, there will be more catastrophes to come, including floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has not been implemented in Canada, which defines Indigenous rights and grants free prior informed consent to the policies that affect them, such as climate change and natural resource development.
On June 11, the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples passed Bill C-262 to implement UNDRIP in Canada. It is not yet federal law. Conservative senators objected over fears about its potential impact on resource development and have been accused of stalling. If the bill is not made federal law by the end of the month, new legislation will have to be tabled.
The Green New Deal attempts to align the principles of UNDRIP and traditional Indigenous knowledge with scientific inquiry.
Wanda Whitebird, an elder of the Mi’kmaq Nation from Afton, N.S., welcomed the crowd of a few hundred to the inaugural town hall in Toronto.
Large banners calling for 100 per cent renewable energy and the recognition of Indigenous rights were draped from the second floor of the church. From the front pews to the back, attendees chanted for “climate justice.” MORE
David Suzuki makes an appearance at United Church on Bloor Street on June 10, 2019.
Some of Canada’s leading environmentalists are trekking across the country to illustrate what they are calling global climate crisis.
Toronto marked the first stop on a seven-city tour for The Leap, a collective of prominent activists who are backing a Green New Deal, an ambitious U.S. plan to curb climate change and transform the economy by investing in clean energy jobs.
The movement is gaining traction among members of the Democratic Party in the United States.
Among those who were touting its virtues in front of a sold out crowd at United Church, located near Tuesday night were author and activist Naomi Klein and environmentalist-turned-broadcaster David Suzuki, who blamed the media for not properly highlighting the perils of planet-wide climate change.
“In May, the United Nations released a study saying we are causing a catastrophic rate of extinction threatening a million species of plants and animals,” Suzuki said. “The next day, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a baby and pushed everything out of the news.”
“Fundamental changes are urgent,” he warned, saying consequences to ecosystems, food supplies and economies will be dire by the year 2100 if global temperature increases aren’t capped to within 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial era averages.
His sentiments were echoed by Pam Palmater, who works as a professor, lawyer and aboriginal rights activist.
“What will it take for people to wake up and realize we don’t need to just change things around the edges? Stop using plastic straws, yes! But that won’t save the world. This isn’t about who you vote for. The most irresponsible a citizen can do is vote and then call it a day.”
The next stop on The Leap’s cross country tour is Thursday in Montreal, with appearances scheduled to follow in Ottawa, Halifax, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg. MORE
Get tickets here
We are ill served by traditional media. A list of reliable sources is found here
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report in October warning of how quickly we’re advancing toward irreversible climate chaos, it led the news — for a day. A massive study in May by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services about rapid wildlife extinction met a similar fate.
In Canada, issues like legalization of recreational cannabis pushed aside the climate report, and news about the birth of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s baby buried the biodiversity report everywhere.
In early April, I read front-page stories in the Vancouver Sun about Brexit and the SNC-Lavalin scandal. The third page had a single column headlined, “Grim climate report released,” about an Environment and Climate Change Canada review by 43 scientists showing Canada is warming at twice the global average rate, even faster in the North.
Why aren’t these reports dominating front pages, financial sections and newscasts, highlighting the enormous societal and economic implications? British Columbians know well that climate change is real. We’ve seen glaciers that supply much of our water retreating, mountain pine beetle outbreaks destroying billions of dollars’ worth of trees, smoke from massive wildfires darkening skies for weeks, acidified oceans killing shellfish, and rising seas threatening coastlines.
In an April speech to the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation‘s Covering Climate Now conference in New York, respected U.S. broadcaster Bill Moyers pointed to research showing, “The combined coverage of climate change by the three major networks and Fox fell from just 260 minutes in 2017 to a mere 142 minutes in 2018,” and “about 1,300 communities across the United States have totally lost news coverage, many from newspaper mergers and closures.” MORE
You can sign the Pact for a New Green Deal in Canada HERE
Prominent Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki (right) was among those in attendance at a press conference in Vancouver convened for the unveiling of Canada’s “Green New Deal”.350 CANADA
Today (May 6), a long list of Canadian organizations and individuals together unveiled a proposal to reduce emissions in the country by 50 percent by 2030.
“The climate crisis is here,” begins a statement at GreenNewDealCanada.ca. “Arctic permafrost is melting, forests, towns, and Indigenous territories are burning. States of emergency—declared for once-in-a-century floods—are becoming commonplace, and millions around the world already face dislocation and starvation.
“But that’s not the only thing keeping us up at night,” it continues. “Many of us are struggling to find an affordable place to live, or a decent job to support our families. Hate crimes and racism are on the rise. And promise to Indigenous peoples have yet to be implemented.
At today’s press conference, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip emphasized that something needs to be done, because the time that remains to avoid the worst consequences of climate change is quickly running out.
“As Indigenous people, our market place is the land and it’s disappearing rapidly,” he said. “The window is closing at an alarming rate and we need true, genuine leadership.” MORE