Sometimes, when new knowledge, perhaps of a cataclysmic weather event or impact of environmental racism weighs heavy inside, it’s hard not to want to speak about it at a social gathering. The topic can be quite unwelcome though! Or, when out in the “real world,” it’s hard not to start screaming something like “you’re talking about sales targets when we might not even have a stable civilization soon! Especially if we don’t stop talking about sales targets!!” That just might not go over well.
No matter how many resources we create here at ClimateFast, for the Kitchen Table Climate Conversations, at the end of the day, it still takes bravery and an investment of both heart and mind, for anyone to talk about climate justice. The Provincial Kitchen Table Climate Conversations backgrounder, created for ClimateFast’s KTCC initiative, is an attempt to help us reach people where they’re at and bring all of the interconnected concerns and challenges we face here in Ontario (yes, in our very backyards!) together.
On a larger geographical scale, the need for climate justice is shown by war, like the current one in the Ukraine, fuelled by the power of a petrol-state. It is also shown by viral spread, like that of COVID-19, a zoonotic disease made much more possible by biodiversity loss that is worsened by climate change. In fact, climate change touches everything.
On the flip side, climate justice is health and safety. It is protection for our families and communities. It is essential for animals and birds and rivers. For food security and housing. True climate justice encompasses many different concerns, values and systemic threats and centres those most impacted. Really, it matters to everyone whether folks want to talk about it or not! Achieving it would protect and uplift us all.
Provincial KTCC Backgrounder
For this blog series, we look at a button under each of the Provincial KTCC Backgrounder website main categories, Climate, Biodiversity and Strong Communities and demonstrate a bit, how they link up to each other and what people care about and where we might find hope or take action together.
Climate: Funding Climate Action
In Ontario, with the current government’s entry into power, one of the first actions they took was to cancel cap and trade which was essentially the source of funding for climate action in the province. This was a blow to all climate plans and left the province with a huge gap in funds for climate action. Some of the losses affected things our communities rely on, like school upgrades and social housing retrofits. See more at Funding Climate Action.
When it comes to replacing those funds, questions of equity and the common good come to mind. Can we consider fair taxation i.e. wealth taxes? What about using and developing economic indicators that prioritize things like wellness, green spaces and strong community services? Using funds, as was done during COVID responses, spending what it takes, building community energy systems, creating good, green jobs and focusing on resilient communities, would move us much closer to responding to the climate emergency at the scale required. Which ties in with….
Strong Communities: Social Services for All
Over the past few years, we’ve seen many cuts to the things that keep our communities safe and strong, a strength needed especially during times of emergency, like those created by severe weather, temperature extremes, fires and flooding. Climate change guarantees that prolonged emergency is here to stay. This emergency threatens us all, but poses a bigger threat to those already most impacted by injustice.
Social services are essential, not only to protect us, but to accelerate a shift away from systems that harm people and planet and toward a world where care and healing are prioritized. These include choices that protect women, address racism, and support Indigenous and migrant rights. All climate justice issues! See more at Social Services for All.
Biodiversity: Not for Sale
Prioritizing strong social services ties in with the right to thrive, including access to clean air, water and healthy food. We need our green spaces for those things and also, to help us fight climate change. The profits of developers should not come before or outrank natural spaces.
Wealth here in Ontario could serve the public good in much better ways than development that compromises health, overrides Indigenous land rights and threatens biodiversity – all essential pieces of an adequate, holistic response to the climate emergency.
We have the chance to build differently here in Ontario, to protect, restore and maintain places in a way that, given emergencies like COVID and climate, makes ever more sense. Prioritizing the natural world is critical. See more at Not For Sale.
Learn more, take action and an example of a Win!
- Raise your voice:
- consider submitting comments during public comment sessions or deputing/intervening. Here is the Ontario Environmental Comment portal: https://ero.ontario.ca
- ask your elected leaders to allocate resources to and support the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- Learn more:
A Win! Section 10 of Bill 66, which would’ve allowed municipalities to change bylaws in order to develop primary agriculture land was retracted due to public outcry!