There are more like three hundred thoughts floating around in my mind after volunteering with David Suzuki’s Blue Dot tour and picking up on the passion and optimism of the artists, activists and volunteers in Saskatoon and Edmonton. But I’m narrowing it down to three.
- Get rid of labels. I think we’re past talking about climate change and whether people agree that it’s happening or deny it. There is no right side or wrong side, and no good guys or bad guys. It’s not economics vs. the environment or right-wing politics vs. left-wing. The earth is literally the common ground we stand on. Air is life for living things. Water makes up 90% of our bodies (which the life force in the “Human Soil” episode of Star Trek: TNG realized when it addressed the crew as “ugly giant bags of mostly water”). The focus is on finding ways to protect the soil, air and water in order to sustain life – all life, not just the human kind.
- We have the brain power to do this. When David Dodge spoke at the People’s Climate March in Edmonton he highlighted six already-existing initiatives that are making an impact, including solar power, wind power and net zero buildings, in which Edmonton is apparently one of the leading municipalities in Canada. Environmental economics is kind of fascinating, believe it or not. There is nothing mysterious about what’s happening or what we need to do about it. There are only so many resources on the planet, and if a growing number of people keep using a growing amount of the resources that are available, they will run out. It’s common sense. Being smart about what we use is just being smart.
- Everyone can do something. David Suzuki is riding a bus across the country and growing a movement to have the right to clean air, fresh water and healthy food enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. http://bluedot.ca/ Shane Koyczan wrote a poem that brought David Suzuki to tears. Eriel Deranger brought more than a few to tears with her passionate description of the impact of oilsands development on the health of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations.
3(a) Everyone has to do something. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released its synthesis report: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_SPM.pdf is the summary, and section 3 is particularly interesting I think because it talks about adaptation and mitigation. “Many adaptation and mitigation options can help address climate change, but no single option is sufficient by itself. Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales, and can be enhanced through integrated responses that link adaptation and mitigation with other societal objectives.
“Adaptation and mitigation responses are underpinned by common enabling factors. These include effective institutions and governance, innovation and investments in environmentally sound technologies and infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods, and behavioural and lifestyle choices.”
Okay, that’s a bit dry, but doesn’t it sound quite a bit like finding the common ground? Petitioning government might not be your thing. Find your thing.
Push for tighter regulations around industry and development.
Take a less is more approach in the face of consumerism.
Be human. Embrace our ugly-giant-bags-of-mostly-water-ishness.