Earth Day. A Day to celebrate Mother Earth and her bounty and go out and enjoy her beauty and strength.
It is a day to remind ourselves that the Earth desperately needs our help to reverse the devastating impacts of climate change and development.
It is a day to take action in our own way to appreciate the Earth and do something that will help restore and rehabilitate her.
Today, world leaders are meeting at the United Nations to figure out what actions they can take on climate change and cut down on GHG’s. Some are signing the Paris Agreement. Are they too late?
Prime Minister Trudeau reiterates that they are putting billions of dollars into low carbon technology and his governments desire to get new technology quickly into the market. Contrast this with his support of developments that create GHG’s.
In BC there are 32 recommendations from the Clean Energy Task Force that are under review. BC was once a leader in actions to reduce carbon. Under Gordon Campbell as Premier, his government put in legislation the goals for reducing green house gases and imposed a carbon tax. Christie Clark chose to negatively impact those goals by freezing the carbon tax. Now the climate action team is recommending the carbon tax be increased by $10 year by 2018. Too far away in my opinion.
I remember when Earth Day started, it did not really have much political attention. It was more of a grass roots movement. More trees got planted by school children and others on Earth Day than other times of the year. Now we have world leaders marking this day so you know how important the earth we live on has become.
We are living in desperate times. In BC this week, temperatures have been breaking records set in the late 1800’s. Forest fires run rampant in northern BC and Alberta. Conditions are dry it is easy to start fires. It is so early to be talking forest fires but with pine beetle forests, it is so simple to get fires going and hard to put out. Rainfall is no where close to what it once was.
We as individuals can do things as well today. Use social media to suggest what we as individuals can do. Walk instead of drive or take public transportation. Recycle more. Educate yourself on the issues and share your information with other. Install solar panels on your roof and insist on the use of clean energy.
Go to your MP or MLA’s office and ask them what they are doing to reduce Green House Gases and is what they are doing enough? Or email or call them. Send emails to Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and ask for urgent action on reduction of GHG’s. Tell them to phase out pipelines not increase them. Transition sooner rather than later out of fossil fuels. Whatever you believe in that requires action on the part of government communicate that. Ask yourself what you can do personally for Earth Day and then do it.
Times are changing quickly all around us. The snow packs are melting rapidly, the water levels are already lower than normal, the temperature in the air and in the water higher, flowers and vegetables blooming sooner as they are confused as to season. Natural disasters and severe weather events are affecting us all.
Helping Mother Earth needs to be a collective effort of all the people who live on this earth. No longer can climate change just be talked about or speculated about. We must act.
What kind of earth do we want for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren? What kind of a legacy will we be leaving them? Will they just be shaking their heads and wondering why their grandparents didn’t act to make changes sooner? Or will we be cursed for making them clean up our mess if that is even possible? There are many solutions and we all have to find them and use them.
On this day we call Earth Day, let us all use it as a day for acting on positive changes for Mother Earth. Let us use it as a day to focus on the Earth and figure out a plan for each and every day of the year to doing what we as individuals can do. Future generations depend on us. Will future generations admire us for our actions or curse us for our inaction? That is entirely up to all of us.
I think it is entirely appropriate to add the Kari-Oca Declaration here. You can find the entire Declaration and Indigenous Peoples Earth Charter at http://www.nafaforestry.org/ff/download/kari_oca.pdf
We, the Indigenous Peoples, walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors.
From the smallest to the largest living being, from the four directions, from the air, the land and the mountains, the Creator has placed us, the Indigenous Peoples upon our Mother the Earth.
The footprints of our ancestors are permanently etched upon the lands of our Peoples.
We, the Indigenous Peoples, maintain our inherent rights to self-determination. We have always had the right to decide our own forms of government. To use our own laws, to raise and educate our children, to our own cultural identity without interference.
We continue to maintain our rights as Peoples despite centuries of deprivation, assimilation and genocide. We maintain our inalienable rights to our lands and territories. To all our resources - above and below - and to our waters. We assert our ongoing responsibility to pass these onto the future generations.
We cannot be removed from our lands. We, the Indigenous Peoples, are connected by the circle of life to our lands and environments.
We, the Indigenous Peoples, walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors. Signed at Kari-Oca, Brazil on the 30th day of May, 1992.