Happy New Year! Time keeps rolling along and already it is 2012. A few weeks ago, I was doing some holiday shopping locally, and a friend and I were reminiscing about years gone by. Mostly, we were laughing about the days when our respective households had a single phone, located in the kitchen and we would spend hours talking to friends. The year my family got an extension cord for the phone receiver meant privacy for me, and peace and quiet for my parents.
Back to the present, my friend and I each have smart phones that do so much more than relieve us of that terrible cord. Take a video, send it to Twitter and Facebook, text a friend about it then call our parents (who just learned how to turn on their new cell phones). Indeed, time brings change.
Our time on this island called Earth has also brought changes to the climate. The international scientific community has reached consensus that global warming is a result of human beings polluting the atmosphere with too many greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, mostly over the last 50 years. Now, our planet’s “thermostat,” as the David Suzuki Foundation puts it, “just doesn’t work the way it should.” Extreme weather events are more common, the Earth is heating up, glaciers are melting and ecosystems are changing.
When I was on the wired phone back in the day, my friends and I would talk about the need to stop pollution, but we had never heard the words global warming. Now, when on my smart phone, it’s a persistent topic — particularly when the Harper Conservatives pulled Canada out of international talks to address this global issue and left an embarrassing mark on our nation’s reputation. Worst of all, Canada isn’t taking meaningful action to change its ways and head off global warming. BC isn’t doing much either as the Liberals contemplate the Enbridge pipeline that would bring Alberta crude to BC’s coast. This has to change.
You can be a part of making that change happen. Not only can you make choices to reduce your individual carbon footprint, but you can also call on others to join you. Namely, government decision-makers need to step up and make the necessary big changes. So start with a pen and paper, share them with some friends, and write your thoughts down in letters or petitions to Christy Clark and Stephen Harper. Tell them you don’t support oil pipelines. Tell them you want to see renewable energies developed by and for the public. Tell them you’re making changes and so should they. Tell them you’re part of the 99 per cent and things need to change. Send me copies of your letters and petitions and I will present them in the Legislature. And if they prefer not to make those changes, the 2013 and 2015 elections may force another kind of change.
Never underestimate the power of the pen or a small group of people. So get on that phone, call, Tweet, text, Facebook some friends and make something happen.
Time brings change; you decide what change you want to see.
Michelle Mungall is the MLA for Nelson-Creston and the NDP opposition critic for advanced education, youth and labour market development