Devastating floods hit both Canadian coasts in November. If you’re like me you were overwhelmed by images and stories coming out of British Columbia, and Atlantic Canada.
And then Omicron showed up and took our attention away from anything everything else.
Isn’t that what happens so often with climate change and environmental issues. We know they’re important but something else more pressing show up to distract us.
Environmental wake up call – don’t hit snooze
If we ever needed a home-grown reminder of the importance of climate action, this is it. We are being reminded, right here in our own backyard, that our planet earth can’t take much more. Planetary action is needed, and it’s needed now.
However imperfect, the agreement announced at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in mid November provided a glimmer of hope. And then the federal Liberal government introduced its throne speech. Highlights from that speech included federal action on the environment.
COP26 – A real commitment to change?
On Saturday, November 13, world leaders announced the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact. As CNN pointed out: “Some are calling it a success, others a failure, and many say it’ somewhere in between.”
I can’t help but think about the coffee sitting on my desk. Is it half full or half empty? All I know is it’s time to brew a fresh pot.
However corny the analogy, you and I know that action on the environment is essential to our planet – the only one we have. Despite the best efforts of Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk to distract us with trips into space, we have nowhere else to go.
ESG - Climate action is an opportunity as well a necessity
While action on climate change offers real challenges, it also offers real opportunities. This is the essence of an ESG investment strategy.
Our collective commitment to things like the development of a network for electric vehicles and conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources are two examples. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to a day when we don’t have to dread looking at the price of gas posted at the station on the corner. And it might even be because there is no gas station on the corner.
One of the biggest hurdles to a universal commitment to COP26 was the language used to describe our use of fossil fuels. All the participating countries had to agree before the agreement could be announced. A decision by India to agree, after the agreement was amended so “that coal should be phased ‘down,’ not phased ‘out,’” serves to reinforce the fundamental notion we are all in this together.
Global action is essential
Only global action will solve this global crisis. We can only succeed when developed and developing nations work together.
COVID is another example of the global impact of local events. All of us were hit by the arrival of Omicron. First identified in South Africa, it spread within weeks all over the world. So much of this feels like a repeat of the last two years. However tired we might feel, we still need to take precautions.
And the same goes for action on the environment, doesn’t it.
This quote from a column in the Washington Post neatly sums up what many are saying about the global impact of and response to COVID vaccinations:
Perhaps no other moment in the pandemic has lent more truth to the often ignored mantra that “no one is safe until we are all safe.” Variants, experts say, are one deadly side effect of vaccine inequality — and a global system that has allowed wealthy nations, and large developing ones, to corral jabs for themselves, leaving poorer and less powerful countries to subsist on vaccine crumbs.
Global action needs to be taken. But then most of us have always known that. COPS26 just reinforced it.
Climate action right here in Canada? We’re talking about it
The discussion of words versus action is never ending. Especially when it come to acting on the environment.
The federal throne speech presented in November highlights many of the things we want to hear about the environment. The problem lies with the fact that words like these have been said before. Who knows how many times the environment has been a major focus of the throne speech?
Enough talk. It’s time for action.
Actions being discussed
A column on CBC lays things out from one perspective - Whatever else happens, this Parliament looks set to be (mostly) about climate change.
Greenpeace has a different perspective: “In most areas, the Liberals made some indications of progress but simply lacked enough detail for analysts to determine whether their plans truly made the grade.”
Federal initiatives include:
Let’ hope that these announcements bear fruit. Change is essential.
These governmental efforts, along with efforts in the private sector, offer us real opportunity to encourage and participate in this level of massive change. If you’re interested in looking for opportunities to benefit the world and yourself, then reach out. Let’s start a deeper conversation and work together to make a better world.
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