Picture in your mind your most special place on earth you love to go to for reflection, relaxation and to soak in the power of the earth, water and sky.  Your place. Has it changed in the last few years?  Has climate change altered your space by having less water, affected by erosion, trees blown down? Will climate change continue to alter your special place so that you don’t recognize it any more? Will it be so change that you can’t bring your children and grand children to share in the joy of Mother Earth? If you have seen this happen and are continuing to see negative impacts on your place, the time to act to prevent more damage is now.

As you reflect on your place, think of the Earth Days that have come and gone through the years.  Some attention has been garnered by those who care about Mother Earth, but most ignore it and carry on their life style as they always have.  As the climate changes around you, as there is more intense weather events, as you have to pay more for your food and some people are literally running out of water, more people are starting to understand how critical the situation is with climate change. 

World leaders have gathered to try and address climate change and control the emission of green house gases (GHG’s).  The Paris Agreement was the best they could do and their goal was to keep global temperatures from rising for this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrials levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  Most critics say this is not enough.

Many countries have committed to 100% renewables and getting off of fossil fuels.  It is impressive to see how many have done so. Costa Rico, Denmark, Sweden, Nicaragua, Scotland, Germany, Uraguay, Denmark, China, Morocco and Kenya to name a few and many more have committed to 100% renewables by 2050.  The world is moving, but is it moving fast enough to slow down and reverse the damage we have already caused?  Only time will tell.

Here in BC, we had the federal and provincial governments approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Pacific North West LNG (PNWLNG) and the Wood Fibre LNG projects.  All these projects will be adding to GHG emissions that will make it impossible for Canada to reach the Paris agreement goals.  The federal government likes to think that the conditions it imposes on the proponent through its environmental certificates will help control the GHG’s but this is not the case.  Both governments have also given the go ahead for Site C dam, a mega dam in northwest BC that will also contribute to GHG emissions.  The BC government is also pushing for more LNG facilities and it was their big dream 4 years ago when they were re-elected. Luckily market conditions and supply intervened and for now these projects have not started by the Liberals have not given up on their dream.

 Both federal and provincial governments have shown that they care more about the revenue that they will receive from developments, and the jobs they will create (most jobs are in the construction phase and not long term) than the environment.  They are not thinking long term into the future wihout regard to the world we will be leaving for the next 7 generations.

 in BC, the voters have the opportunity to change things during this next election on May 9th, 2017.  They can look at each of the political parties and decide who is really thinking about the people and the earth we live on.  Which party really has a plan to curb climate change that will really work?

The BC Liberals are pushing all kinds of developments that will create more GHG emissions and are ignoring First Nations concerns over protecting their rights and title. They put together a climate leadership team and only accepted some of their recommendations.

The NDP are promising to keep their greenhouse gas targets that have been legislated and implement all the recommendations of the Climate Leadership Team.  They will also phase in the federally mandated $50/tonne carbon price by 2022 over three years, starting in 2020.

The Green party is led by Andrew Weaver who is a well respected expert on climate change. The Green party promises bold action on climate change that will position B.C. to be a leader in the low-carbon economy. The B.C. Green Party commits to be responsible for managing the province’s resources for the benefit of both present and future generations of British Columbians.

I hope each eligible voter in BC gets out to vote and casts their ballot based on how they perceive their future to be and how the party you choose will affect yours and your grandchildren’s quality of life.  Does any party have a climate change plan that will be effective enough to slow down or reverse global warming?  Is that party plans for mega developments geared more to ramp up greenhouse gases rather than reduce them?

On earth day 2017 I hope each of us will find ways to protect Mother Earth, to take actions to restore and rehabilitate her and to keep that special place you envisioned at the beginning of this article in its pristine state.  We need to ask ourselves how we are personally changing our lifestyle to reverse climate change? How are we educating ourselves on actions that can be taken to help this planet? Have you lobbied your MLA’s and MP’s to take effective actions?

 Earth day has been about simple things like planting a tree or turning our lights out for an hour.  We can still do a lot more simple things but big things are also required.. What is clear is that it is time for urgent, innovative solutions by all of us, it is a shared responsibility of everyone and we must all do our part if we want to have a beautiful world to leave to our children and share with them the wonders of what is here now. 

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