What do you think about when you hear the words global warming or climate change? Maybe you feel a terrible sense of dread (we are killing our planet and there is nothing that can be done) or maybe it’s more of a feeling of “meh” (the earth is warming, but it doesn’t really affect me here in Nova Scotia). Traditionally I have been of the former camp - I really know global warming is a serious issue that will affect the whole planet in major ways, but at times it feels so massive, so gigantic, that I get weighed down by how hard it will be to stop it from happening. I am trying to do my part: my family and I are eating less red meat, I am using public transit more (and hopefully will soon start using my bike again) and we have availed ourselves of the excellent programs at Efficiency Nova Scotia to make sure our home is as energy efficient as we can make it (this is an ongoing project). Still, sometimes it’s hard to believe that these little things can make a dent in the bigger issue. (They can!!!)
Lately, however, my feelings of dread and ultimate doom have been shifting a little. I have been hearing about and learning about a message of hope around climate change. I believe more and more that we can actually slow down the earth’s warming process and maybe, just maybe, save the earth from the full effects of the change. It is possible, but we don’t have much time - about 11 years actually.
Much of the work we must do in the next 11 years is to cut greenhouse gas emissions so that the levels of C02 in the atmosphere can drop to 50% below where they were in 1990. After we reach that goal, we need to continue to work toward transitioning away from fossil fuels and have net zero carbon emissions by 2050. These goals are possible but they will require strong leadership from local, state/provincial and national governments all over the world. To meet these targets, we need to put bold plans in place so that we can transition from fossil fuel energy into carbon-less energy, and make sure that people working in the oil and gas industry can transition to new industries without taking a financial hit.
I am proud that our NSNDP caucus introduced a couple of pieces of legislation last week that speaks to this transition and to the ways in which we can make our world greener, and therefore more liveable; and, at the same time, kick start our economy and create green jobs for thousands of people.
Read about our Green Jobs Act here.
Read about our Local Action on Climate Change Act here.
On Friday, March 15th, students all over the world went on strike to call for real action by governments to address the very serious issue of climate change. In Halifax, hundreds of young people (some as young as 4!) gathered at City Hall and then Province House. They were loud, passionate and serious about the need to act now. Climate action cannot be something we look at in the future, and ask the younger generations to handle. We need to act now so that they are able to live healthy and safe lives. It was inspiring to be among those energetic, intelligent and articulate people, who are using their substantial collective voice to call for policies that actually address the issue and stop the planet’s dangerous warming.
Lastly, someone I find inspiring is climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. I heard her speak here late last year and, though she knows we are in a climate change pickle, she proposes real solutions on how to get out of it. Her number one suggestion: talk about it. Check out her website and be inspired to act.