Canada’s Climate Movement
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Climate change movement has become global with UN taking the lead for arresting the danger posed to global climatic conditions. The goal of it to reduce drastically green gas emission globally and do away with fossil burning.
Climate Movement in Canada is unique. It aims at climate change goals with other important objectives. The Canadian climate groups are coming together in Toronto on July 5 for a March for Jobs, Justice and Climate Action. The climate organizations representing the most marginalized people in Toronto, the water and carbon keepers; environmentalists waging inspiring divestment campaigns; and the trade union movement, including the country’s largest private sector union representing workers at the heart of the fossil fuel economy.
This is the first step towards a new kind of climate movement with a multipronged action. It’s a climate movement that recognizes that time is too short to allow divisions to keep people from building the kind of coalitions that will safeguard life on earth.
Canadians are clearly getting tired of the fossil fuel roller-coaster. They are tired of knowing that they have to sacrifice the environmental protections and international standing when times for industry are good. Of seeing their budgets for social programs slashed and livelihoods destroyed when times for industry are bad. It turns out we sacrifice on the upside and we sacrifice on the downside.
Canadians are tired of seeing the quest for super-profits cause the degradation of Indigenous lands, workers’ safety and immigrant rights during those boom years, tired of seeing reduced profits used as the excuse for mass lay-offs, for broken contracts, for lowered safety standards, and for increased racism against immigrants during the bust years; they are tired of having a petro-currency that destroys manufacturing when times are up and are tired of picking up the pieces when times are down; tired of the huge physical costs of digging up and burning this much carbon. They are tired of the polluted rivers, the exploding oil trains, the extreme weather linked to climate change; tired, too, of the merger between our government and the extractive sector.
Canadians are tired of having a Prime Minister who bullies other nations into taking Canadian oil and building their pipelines when they don’t want them. They are tired of a Department of Indian Affairs that pushes relentlessly to extinguish Indigenous rights in order to pave the way for more mines and more pipelines; tired of a Department of Foreign Affairs that acts as an adjunct of a mining industry that’s infamous from Guatemala to Greece for its violations of human rights; and tired of Canadian “national interest” being equated with a sector whose business model is to dig up more carbon than is compatible with a stable climate.
Now that the price of oil is low, they say they can see that the price of all this is simply too high. For a decade, the Harper government has told Canadians they have to choose between a healthy economy and stable climate—and as a result, Canadians are ending up with neither. The people of Alberta, the epicenter of the fossil fuel roller coaster, just voted to get off this reckless ride. And many other Canadians are ready to join them. But people want more than the politics of rejection. They want to be inspired.
When we look around the world with a hope that a far better economy is possible while taking serious action on climate change, things look better. In Germany, a dramatic transition to renewable energy is underway and it has created 400,000 jobs. It is also bringing control over energy back to hundreds of towns and cities, promising to strengthen democracy and generate much needed revenue.
This multipronged approach to tackle climate change would go along in keep the earth live, unaffected by the dangerous level of emission.