As Labour Day approaches, we are all thinking of working people in Canada and all over the world. So much of our economies depend on extensive use of coal, oil and gas. Those who would accuse us of unrealistic idealism say that we will destroy the Canadian economy and job growth if we implement ClimateFast’s three basic asks:
- To end fossil fuel subsidies
- To put a price on carbon and
- To support the development of a renewable energy plan for Canada.
At ClimateFast we believe that fast action on climate all around the world is essential for the well-being of our children and grandchildren. We must do what we can to stop the escalating climate change that will most certainly make their lives much more difficult than ours. (If we do not stop burning fossil fuels we are trending toward a catastrophic average temperature increase of six degrees.)
But we also believe that to follow the lead of many other countries, an aggressive transition to renewable energy would actually boost the Canadian economy. It is true that we would not triple the production in the Alberta Tar Sands and create jobs in oil and gas exploration, mining, and transportation. Instead, we would create those jobs in the new infrastructure that would be required to build a renewable energy economy. Every province has the equal opportunity to stimulate innovation and development in green energy.
We must create manufacturing infrastructure to produce the windmills and solar collectors. Mechanics could work to retrofit cars to run on electricity or biogas. Computer specialists need to design and construct the smart grids that will accept electrical production from anyone in the system and will deliver energy to anyone in the system. We need research and development to improve our ability to store excess electricity when it is produced if it can’t be put into the system right away. In fact this is a terrific opportunity to stimulate many high quality innovative jobs. There is so much we need to learn to make this all work.
Once we have made the transition, energy should be cheaper than it is in the carbon-based economy. This will give Canada the opportunity to be very competitive in the twenty-first century. Countries that go this route will be more competitive, productive and innovative than those that don’t. Putting all our eggs into the oil and gas basket will give us a short-term windfall and leave us in the dark ages when the oil and gas run out.
But the corporate leaders of our world are fixated on finding every last bit of oil and gas before they make the effort to make this transition. We cannot wait till they are willing. We need to start building the new infrastructure now. At ClimateFast we hope to see workers taking leadership on this file. We hope to see these new industries springing up all over Canada based on worker ownership and worker co-ops. Workers need to let their bosses know that energy conservation and supporting renewable energy options is important to them. We need to let our pension fund managers know that we expect them to look to the future and support renewable energy. And we all need to let our politicians know that we need a new energy policy in Canada with a focus on making a transition to renewable energy.
We hope you’ll join us and write a letter to a corporation, or to your MP on September 1. (see our Sample Letter). Join our monthly fast as a prayer to the world to get moving on this issue. Sign our pledge at ClimateFast.ca and sign up at fastfortheclimate.org to join the world-wide fasting movement. And don’t forget to speak to family and friends and encourage them to get involved.
September 21, the World Climate March will be happening in New York City. That would be an excellent day to hold a solidarity event. Have the people at your event sit down and write a letter to their MP to be sent on or around October 1. Our MPs in Canada are back to work in Ottawa on September 15.
September 28 to October 2 is ClimateFast’s annual fast and vigil on Parliament Hill. We need every MP in Canada to receive at least 15 letters from constituents on October 1. And please, send us a note telling us about your event. How many people were there. Did you write a letter? Send us a copy. Send it to email@example.com. We need your encouragement as we hold vigil, fasting for four days on Parliament Hill.
May your food or carbon fast help to focus your energy, and those around you, on this most urgent challenge of our time.