I am a mother and naturopathic physician. I am increasingly concerned about the short time frame we have to act in order to slow down climate change. What future do our children face and what are the global health consequences if we do not act swiftly?
My sweet 12-year-old son wrote an essay for school this year where he envisioned a future where we will all be wearing shorts and flip flops and food would be expensive. I wish it were that simple.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put out a sobering report last year saying we have 12 years to make unprecedented sweeping changes to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or we will face catastrophic loss to our ecosystems. This will affect global economies, health and safety and cause the tragic loss of species. The IPCC report clearly lays out the consequences, and we are already seeing many of them now: floods, droughts, wildfires.
Time is running short for effective change. With that in mind, I travelled on my own dime with members of my local Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapter to Victoria in May. We met up with other CCL volunteers from the province and lobbied 26 different MLAs. We met with MLAs to ask them to please consider the climate crisis when making decisions and align policies so we can meet and exceed legislated greenhouse gas targets.
Our main asks were that they:
• Develop a plan with timelines to end financial supports for the fossil fuel sector.
• Clearly show how B.C. can credibly meet its GHG targets if expanding fracked gas and liquified natural gas (LNG).
• Improve B.C.’s carbon tax by committing to it rising over the long term, removing exemptions, and increasing revenue returned to households.
A recent report released by the Global Energy Monitor on Canada Day shows that the rate that Canada is expanding fracking for LNG exports is undermining global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Expanding LNG just doesn’t make sense.
We clearly cannot continue to do things the same way. For an ailing patient, I start by eliminating the root causes and boosting the body’s resilience. Similarly for the planet, it is clear we need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and other sources of climate pollution, while restoring our planet’s ecosystems.
Climate change’s impacts will affect all of us, especially our children in the years ahead. I’m urging us all to get involved, whether it be through local action or through lobbying your government. The future can be amazing if we are willing to make huge changes to our infrastructure and priorities, many of which are laid out in Canada’s Green New Deal.
Katherine Oldfield is a naturopathic physician and mother of two children. She lives in Nelson and is an active member of the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.