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General News · 15th June 2009
Carrie Saxifrage
A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference on climate change and human rights. An environmental law professor gave a simple list of government actions that we can request our representatives to support. With the Copenhagen talks coming up in the fall and Canada’s foot dragging at the international table, it’s a good time to let Ottawa know that we welcome prompt and major action. Much more can be done in BC as well. I’ve sent this basic letter to all my representatives. I hope you will consider sending your version. Here’s a version tailored to Harper.

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Climate change is the issue for which you will be most remembered for in history. At this critical time, I request that Canada pursue the following measures:

• A tax on carbon. Tax revenues should meet social justice goals and support development of renewable energy.
• Strict regulation of carbon sources.
• Stringent vehicle mileage standards.
• Adaptation funding to alleviate the stress on all humans, all species.
• Technology transfer to developing nations so that they can bypass fossil fuel and reach prosperity using low emission energy sources.
• Support for international family planning
• An authoritative public education initiative on climate change and population growth.

As well as implementing these measures in Canada, please give them your full support in Copenhagen at the upcoming climate change summit. Climate change is a human rights issue due to its disproportionate impact on food and water supplies in poor and developing nations. Historically, Canada has proudly led the way in human rights.

Please demonstrate leadership in this crucial issue.

Thank you,

Stephen Harper:
Environment Minister Jim Prentice:
MP North Island John Duncan:

Claire Trevena: (the NDP dropped “Axe the Tax”!)
Gordon Campbell:
More "Feelgood" Futility
Comment by Robert Carter on 22nd June 2009
Write a few more letters if it'll make you feel any better. It might give a boost to the slumping pulp & paper industry. However I'm reminded of a Bruce Cockburn song, "The Trouble with Normal is it Always gets Worse" and that was over 25 years ago. Well, it got worse. I'm not moaning over the just is. Given the state of the global economy there's not much room to throw money at various "green" projects. That window closed last September when the market crashed. I guess the old adage "think globally, act locally" is still a good course of action. We have to inspire others to change their direction, not berate them, overtax them or bully them. I'd like to think that passionate letters to Harper (Chretien before him) will cause him to have an epiphany on climate change etc but I think that's unrealistic.
There is no time to waste
Comment by norberto on 18th June 2009
Good idea Carrie !

Let’s send lots of letters (email or paper) to Harper, requesting that Canada must make a firm commitment for real climate change actions.

We can tell him that Canada has the opportunity to become a Climate Champion, instead of being a Climate Villain.

We can tell him that Canada has the opportunity of becoming an Intergenerational Custodian, instead of being an Intergenerational Criminal.

We can tell him that it is a shame that Canada is currently even worse than US towards taking action towards climate change, since President Obama is making serious commitments in this regard.

We can ask him for a massive public education programmes on critical topics such as climate change actions, prosperity without growth and population growth.

A good source of information to get facts and ideas on climate change is the site. They have several documents about climate change, energy and more. For instance, look at the left column and click on Stop Climate Change, or Stop the tar sands, or Support KYOTOplus, which is an online petition, if we don’t have the time to write a letter.

When you click on Stop Climate Change you have the opportunity to browse and download a very interesting report called "Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable Canada energy outlook." A few of the policy changes the report recommends are:

- phase out all subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy
- account for the social and environmental costs of energy production through “cap an trade” emissions trading and/or carbon taxation
- mandate strict efficiency standards for all energy-consuming appliances, building and vehicles
- establish legally blinding targets for renewable energy and combined heat and power generation

For a different viewpoint, you can also take a look to ZeroCarbonBritain website at and click Summaries at the left column, where they provide lots of interesting ideas that may also apply to Canada. For instance their Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) concept is quite interesting.

Bottom line is that there is no time to waste on this matter. We all have the opportunity, and I will dare to say, responsibility, to ask our government to take action on climate change.

For the sake of our grandchildren and future generations, for the sake of the Earth, we can not procrastinate anymore!

And on this spirit, may I suggest we should start a local climate change action programme here in Cortes?


Waste of Paper ?
Comment by Robert Carter on 16th June 2009
Don't you think it's kind of futile all this letter writing ? Car sales are way up in China, India and Brazil thanks to new cheap cars like the TATA Nano. It doesn't matter what we do in Canada. Unless every country in the world is 'on board' we're not going to have an impact. Our air arrives from across the Pacific along with airborn pollutants generated in Asia. You can't really blame others for wanting to have cars of their own after watching the 'golden age' of gas guzzlers in the West.
And it's kind of rich all this "green" talk coming from priveledged islanders who depend on a subsidized polluting ferry for their weekly trips. Then there's all that wood burning to keep warm in the winter while we conceive more babies who become consumers in due course. Finally, do you really believe that Harper can or will do anything meaningful in this regard ?