Local activists are acting in step with a national movement and holding a town hall next week for a non-partisan Canadian Green New Deal that aims to bring attention to the effects of climate change, with organizers telling The Post on Thursday that there is no time to waste.
“By holding a town hall we’re encouraging people to exercise their responsibility as citizens to become involved and speak out about issues of critical importance,” Donna Jennison explained, adding that “this is what strong healthy, democracy looks like.”
Organizers say they “aim to begin to unite a diverse movement, develop a shared vision of a livable future and push political leaders to act” — noting that climate change will be a critical issue in the upcoming federal election as parties fight over policy in the House of Commons.
The town hall comes from a movement inspired by the Le Pacte that launched in Quebec, a climate action pledge that has gathered over 270,000 signatures. It calls on Canadians from coast-to-coast to “define a plan for a safe, just and prosperous future.”
Le Pacte was inspired by the Green New Deal introduced by left-leaning Democrats in the United States Congress that outlined a general blueprint for shifting U.S. reliability away from fossil fuel reliance and towards environmentally-friendly, renewable infrastructure.
“Like the Green New Deal in the U.S., we are guided by the same science, Jennison told The Post, explaining that “we are all facing the same timeline and the same issue of inaction from all levels of government” in both Washington and Ottawa.
Though climate is a political issue, organizers stress that it is a non-partisan, grassroots initiative supported by “individuals, scientists, unions, Indigenous and civil society organizations and youth from across the country who have come together” to secure a safe future for all Canada.
The town hall will take place on June 6 and go from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Italian Canadian Club east of downtown Guelph and people can mark their attendance via the Facebook event page. The gathering is free to attend and those interested can find more information on the Green New Deal website.
As for those on the fence about going to the town hall, Jennison stressed the urgency of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that claimed humans have 11 years to cut GHG emissions in half or face “irreversible and catastrophic climate conditions” threatening life.
Jennison said there will be “mass extinction, crop failure, heat death, massive methane release, raging wildfires, droughts and monthly hundred year floods” if action is not taken to reverse the course government and business are taking globally, citing the IPCC report.
“Human life, and all of life on the planet, depends on our taking quick and decisive action and we must start now,” Jennison added, saying “there is no time to waste.”
Locally, Guelph is considered to be ahead of most Canadian cities with policy in place to reach net zero for the city’s corporation and rely on 100 per cent renewable energy. Though Council has come under criticism from those that wanted to declare a climate emergency, a move that failed on Monday.