A just transition in the nick of time
By Yolande Henry, LPCGND
“Rise up, Rise up,” sang La Pêche resident Ilse Turnsen, who was joined by activists and artists at a standing room-only crowd at the Black Sheep Inn last September. The event, hosted by the La Pêche Coalition for a Green New Deal, called for a shift away from the status quo to a Green New Deal and highlighted the real and present danger of the climate crisis. La Pêche residents rallied; they signed petitions, they marched. The excitement was palpable. Change was in the air!
Barely three months later, 2020 burst on the scene with crisis following crisis, as we seem to be hastening rather than averting the sixth greatest mass extinction.
Despite all the global protests, the gatherings of the U.N. and a boom in renewable energy, we continue to burn more fossil fuels with each passing year. The Energy Policy Tracker (Sept. 2020) notes that Canada is leading the G20 in its pandemic commitment to fossils fuels, almost 10 times the G20 average per capita — with a total of $US12 billion.
An open letter to The Guardian (Aug. 4) signed by over 100 economists urged divestment, active phaseout of fossil fuels and underscored the connections between the simultaneous crises of climate change, systemic racism, economic devastation and the spread of COVID-19, calling for a green recovery that will replace the carbon economy: “The carbon economy amplifies racial, social and economic inequities, creating a system that is fundamentally incompatible with a stable future.”
We are truly at a crossroads. Can we stem the tide? Can we build back better? Will our politicians withstand corporate pressure and embrace the Seventh Generation Principle of the Iroquois, knowing that decisions made today should consider seven generations into the future?
Everyone, regardless of race, colour or creed, shares in the desire to live in a world with clean air and water, to provide for their families, to eat healthy food and to live in a just society.
Cree land defender, Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, when awarded the Equinox Citation for Environmental Achievement in 1992, said: “You know what I think is the greatest achievement of our people? It is that, unlike the Egyptians for example, who built the pyramids to make a mark for themselves, my people did not leave a mark. They left the land the way it was. That is their greatest achievement … to leave it as we found it, for my children and your children, so they can enjoy it too.”
The LPCGND is hosting a webinar on Oct. 1, “A just transition in the nick of time” to provide hope and inspire agency. Join the Coalition to hear renowned Canadian author and journalist, Linda McQuaig, along with other progressive thinkers and activists, including Ilse’s son and economist, Ryan Campbell. Let’s build back better across sectors and divisions to demand a just recovery, to stand together in solidarity for a new paradigm. We simply must rise up. Not to do so is to risk everything.
For event details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org