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Talk to the Climate strike: Huntsville Ontario, September 27, 2019  


Today we join hands with millions across the world to demand climate action now, Not empty talk. Cut Canada’s carbon pollution in half in 10 years. It must and can be done. Governments acted decisively before when Canadians and people around the world demanded it. They said NO to fascism, to govt racism that executed millions in the Second World war. Industry in Canada quickly converted for the war effort. Canadians rationed food, so some was sent to besieged Britain. Imagine putting your food and your life on the line to avert danger. We must find such common purpose again - to stop and reverse climate change danger.


Our planet is on fire. Earth is a lonely little planet surrounded by vast, inhospitable space. It’s the only planet we have. To unite like in the war, no one must profit by carbon polluting. No one must be left behind in the transition to a post-carbon future. Live in tune with nature, not above it.


The days of rule by Big Oil are over. Big Oil reaps gigantic profits through cheap access to nature’s bounty. Big Oil didn’t put oil in the soil, but they pollute into our common atmosphere and rivers for free and get huge govt subsidies paid for by taxpayers. Big Oil corporations are welfare bums – corporate welfare bums. We say No more. Subsidize solutions not pollution.


Don’t let anyone tell you climate action in Canada doesn’t matter. Canada is the 38th most populous country in the world, But is the world’s ninth biggest carbon emitter. Not per capita carbon emitter. Canada is the 9th biggest emitter period. We emit over three times as much per capita as the world average. We have a duty to cut more than others.


What is Canada’s greatest emissions source? Vehicles of all kinds? No. That’s #2 (24%). Buildings are #3 (12%). The biggest and fastest growing emissions source is from the production of oil and natural gas – about 1/3 of Canada’s total. Rising production in Alberta’s tar sands are the elephant in Canada’s living room, No one talks about. We must.


Why produce all that oil and gas? It’s mainly for export rather than Canadians’ use.


The tar sands have no long-term economic or environmental future: 

They’re carbon–intensive, inferior oil that sells at a discount. They’re in a remote part of a remote, landlocked province. Their main competitor the US – is their main market.


That’s why Big Foreign Oil corporations have cut and run from the tar sands since 2016: 

Total, France’s biggest oil corp.

Norway’s StatOil 


ConocoPhillips, Murphy, Koch, Devon – all US based oil corps


Why then did the  Liberals buy the TransMountain pipeline to help grow tar sands output – with the urging of the federal and Alberta Conservatives?


How can Canada cut emissions in half by 2030 while growing its biggest and fastest expanding emissions source?


Simply. It can’t. 


I love Alberta and want Albertans to have a future, not be stuck in a has-been, fossil fuel zone. 


We lived in Edmonton for 30 years where our three sons grew up. I taught at the Univ of Alberta. One son once worked in Fort McMurray in the heart of the tar sands. 


They need a managed phase-out to find new economic opportunities and jobs for displaced workers. 


A 3 part climate plan for Canada

1) Cut Demand for carbon fuels quickly. Do it fairly so no one emits more than their fair share & no one is left without energy. Don’t place the burden on those struggling to make ends meet. Make Polluters pay. 


We need climate Justice to show we’re all in this together. No one left behind.


Many countries are banning the sale of new Internal combustion vehicles to be replaced by electric ones. 

Costa Rica in 2021, Norway in 2025, India, Israel and Ireland by 2030. Scotland by 2032, England, China, France and other countries by 2040

Canada is missing from this list. Shame.


2) Cut Supply. Wind up the production of oil & natural gas. Start w. Dirtiest sources. By 2030: End tar sands production, fracking, and oil and gas exports. End oil imports too. More slowly wean Canadians off oil, using Canadian, non-fracked, conventional oil.


The following countries will end oil exploration or production: France, New Zealand, Denmark, Belize, Ireland.


3) Grow forests on a giant scale is by far the cheapest way to tackle climate crisis. Plant a trillion trees across the world can pull out 200 billion tonnes of carbon from the air & promote Bio diversity. But that works only if we also stop burning carbon fuels.


Rewild much of the world.


Where would we get enough land?

Wind & solar energy occupy 100 times as much space as oil for same amount of energy

Rewilding / afforestation, biodiversity need much land too


Get most of the land from agriculture. 


70% of Agricultural land in the world is for pasture. 3.5 bill hectares

Only ¼ as much directly grows food for people.


Each Omnivore needs one hectare of land. 

Vegetarians 1/3 as much  

Vegans 1/8th as much. 

Lesson. Eat less meat 


What can we do?

  • Greta Thunberg said: “Entire ecosystems are collapsing. all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?” 

  • The are no jobs or profits in a dead world. 

  • Capitalism & sustainability don’t mix. The richest 10% of the world’s people cause 50% of its emissions. No corporation can profit by persuading them to buy less. But that’s what needs to be done. We need a new economic model


  • Individual action can help: drive less, walk more, cycle, hang clothes to dry, eat less meat. Stop trees from being cut down, Plant trees, Help Ash Muskoka collect ash.

  • But What we do as citizens matters even more. Think of yourself as a citizen who helps shape your community. Only govts can phase out the tar sands, ban the sale of new ICE vehicles by 2030, provide safe, paved, separated bicycle lanes, redesign towns so people can safely and conveniently walk and cycle more. Build high-speed passenger trains with frequent, affordable service. Have Free public transit.

  • Vote. Oct 21 is the climate election. Vote. Are you registered? Check with elections Canada. If you aren’t old enough, talk to parents, older friends about climate and voting.


Gain Hope through action. It’s the antidote to climate despair.

  • Join a political party, a divest from fossil fuels group or environmental group, start a climate discussion group in your school or neighbourhood. Movements are contagious. They go viral and inspire each other. 


  • Get informed. 

Get active. Stay active. There will be setbacks. Don’t get discouraged. Work with others and Keep going. Big Oil has lots of power. But the people united are more powerful. We can win. Our future and the future of all other living things is at stake. The seas are rising and so are we.

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