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