COP26 has wrapped, so what now?
by Cecily Ross
Now that COP26 has wrapped up, are you wondering what you as an individual can do about climate change? As you watch the news reports of wild fires, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, mass migration and famine, are you filled with feelings of doom and despair? Even if you eat less meat, stop flying, buy a smaller car, insulate your attic, cut down on plastic, recycle and reuse, do you feel these efforts are not enough?
Well, you would be right. Well intentioned actions like these are simply not going to effect the big changes needed if the world is to avoid climate catastrophe. In fact, the whole concept of shrinking your carbon footprint is actually green washing by Big Oil. According to The New York Times, Shell latched onto the idea as a way of shifting the responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions onto the individual, onto you and me, suggesting that we, the people, are the problem, therefore it’s up to us to fix it, when Big Oil and their insatiable pursuit of profit is the real problem. The good news is that companies like Shell now feel compelled to at least look as though they are doing something about climate change. That could lead eventually to real action if people like us continue holding their feet to the fire.
Of course, you should turn down your thermostat and give up plastic straws – every little bit helps – but what is really needed is activism. You probably think that as an ordinary citizen you have little power but consider the energy that grassroots groups like Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion are bringing to the fight. Groups like these, made up of youth, trans people, Indigenous communities (most of them girls and women) are being heard around the world and their voices are forcing governments, banks, and oil companies to start taking real action. We must keep up the pressure.
So, what can you and I do? The most important thing is to let your elected representatives know what you want, whether you’re concerned about biodiversity, or wetlands, carbon emissions, super highways destroying farmland, logging, wildlife, air pollution, water quality or all of the above, drop your councillor, MPP, MP and/or the Premier a line or call them and leave a message. Not just once, but as often as you can. Ask them to state their positions on issues like climate change. Then vote or work for candidates who will stand up for your concerns.
Another thing you can do is join or give money to one of many climate change non-governmental organizations. A list of environmental groups is available on the government of Canada website. They are fighting hard every day to secure the future for our children and grandchildren and they need our help.
To get you started, here is contact info for elected reps at the local municipal, provincial and federal levels:
• Doug Measures, Mayor
(705) 428-6230 ext. 280
• Thom Paterson, Councillor, Ward 5
(705) 428-6230 ext. 284
• Doug Ford, Premier. Queen’s Park Office,
• David Piccini, Ontario Minister of Environment
• Brian Saunderson,
Simcoe-Grey PC nominee
Terry Dowdall, Simcoe-Grey MP
Parliament Hill office 613-992-4224
Constituency Office 705-435-1809