Calgarians Marching to Demand Climate Change Action Now
Article Written By: Laurie Cunningham
On April 11th, around 25,000 people took to the streets in Quebec City, demanding that Canada’s premiers take a tougher stance on climate change during the April 14th Premier’s Summit on Climate Change. Across the country, on that same day in Edmonton, 50 people gathered for a solidarity march in support of Quebec. Only 50 people out of a city of 900,000 in the capital of the province that annually emits more greenhouse gases than any other territory or province in Canada.
At first glance, the turnout in Edmonton seems discouraging. But the fact is, that these 50 people represent a larger movement that is quickly growing across Canada. Although the Premier’s Summit has passed, opportunities to encourage change have not. This December, 196 countries will meet to sign a new climate change agreement at the United Nations Summit for Climate Change in Paris, France. Individual countries are to submit legally binding action plans that will reduce emissions and limit average global temperatures from rising more than 2°C and we have the chance to influence the decisions that will be made about our environment.
This is by no means the first attempt at reducing global emissions. In 2005, the Kyoto Protocol came into effect as the first and only binding international agreement that set targets to reduce emissions that cause climate change. In response to the Kyoto protocol, Canada developed promising plans designed to stimulate high-tech and construction industries, create jobs, reduce health care costs, and protect our ecosystems. But in 2006, a government election resulted in a change in federal leadership, and ultimately projects were scrapped, targets were ignored, in 2011, Canada embarrassingly became the first country to officially withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. Since then, Canada has committed to reduce emissions by 17% from the baseline emissions recorded in 2005; a plan significantly weaker than the original Kyoto commitment, and even then, Canada is currently on trend to miss this target by 116 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent with a reduction of less than 2%. This is equal to the annual emissions of over 24 million vehicles. Essentially, the majority of Canadians would have to quit driving for a year in order to help meet this target. This is not a small amount.
Canada has an opportunity to finally be a leader in climate change when historically the government has failed to make the environment a priority. Canadians need to let the government know that the environment is not only a priority, it is a top priority. And who better to do this than those living in the epicenter of Canada’s oil and gas headquarters? It’s time for Calgarians to show that we care and join the international chorus demanding that local, provincial, national and international leaders, along with citizens everywhere, take the steps urgently needed to protect the planet from the effects of climate change. We are not only gambling our economy, we are gambling our futures. An economy based on finite, non-renewable resources that are internationally condemned as one of the main causes for climate change will not endure. We have the power to diversify our economy, demand change, and heal our home.
It is time for Canada to transition to a clean-energy future by phasing out our dependence on fossil fuels, developing clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Canada has a crucial choice: we can be a leader on the path to a meaningful agreement to reduce climate change, or we can continue to be an obstacle to progress and a disappointment in the international effort to save our environment.
On April 26th, Calgarians from across the city, have an exciting opportunity to unite in front of City Hall (800 Macleod Trail SE) at 1:30pm for a peaceful march for climate change action, hosted by the Calgary Climate Action Network. At 1:45pm, there will be photo ops and then the march will proceed to Eau Claire Plaza at 2:00pm. Once at Eau Claire Plaza, in honour of the environment and in honour of communities coming together, there will be dancing and music and opportunities to talk about “what’s next?” Bring your signs and noisemakers and join your neighbours in making our voices heard. Together we are strong and will refuse to be ignored!
Event details can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/419393328229454/
For more information about the Climate Change Action Network (CCAN): http://www.calgaryclimateactionnetwork.ca/