As of today it’s official: every province and territory across Canada is on board with the 350.org climate movement. This Sunday, 350.org events will be held throughout Canada and around the world.
Last year, we saw the beginning of this movement. On Oct. 24th, 2009, several thousand youth took over Parliament Hill in Ottawa to give our leader a strong message: that we want action now.
But the politicians on the Hill haven’t given us that. If anything, the Canadian government has done the opposite, subsidizing $1.5 billion to the fossil fuel industry and cutting investments in renewable energy. Even worse, as we all know too well, the Copenhagen Climate Summit was a complete failure. It took us years, if not a decade, backward in negotiations.
So what do we do now? Is there any point to fighting or should we just give in to this suicidal path we seem to be on? These are the questions that have plagued me since I left the summit last December. It’s fair to tell you that I haven’t written much about this recently because I’ve been in a kind of “eco-coma.” I felt so pessimistic about our future, as I’m sure a lot of us have, that I found it difficult to have even the slightest bit of hope any more.
But maybe that was my mistake. I placed too much hope on some political leaders changing it all. I realize now that we’ve got to get to work ourselves for the change we want. We can’t leave it up to the top-tier powers that are so obviously controlled by the fossil fuel lobby. Throughout history, this has always been the way. It takes strong movements of millions to make change. This year is no exception. Despite our corrupt government, Canadians and people around the world are not backing down. Our movement is only getting stronger.
On Oct. 10th, there will be events happening across the country. In the Yukon Territories, people will weatherize low-income homes. In Nunavut they will take the day to walk instead of drive. While in Prince Edward Island, they will cycle on hybrid electric bikes across the coastal shorelines to promote alternative energies.
In Pakistan, women are learning how to use solar ovens, students in Zimbabwe are installing solar panels on a rural hospital, and sumo wrestlers in Japan are riding their bicycles to practice.
Sure, solving climate change won’t come one bike path at a time. But as Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, wrote, “It’s a key step in continuing to build the movement to safeguard the climate.”
This is probably the most important year yet to preserver in our fight. We’ve seen devastating floods in Pakistan, fires in Russia, and a heat-wave around the world.
But with this movement growing globally, today I am proud to write that I have hope again.