CTVNews. ca writer
People take part in a protest against climate change in Montreal, Saturday, November. 21, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Graham Hughes
When many Canadians think about how they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are often looking for ways to reduce their own carbon footprint, such as by flying less frequently or driving an electric vehicle.
As laudable as these actions may be, climate activists say there are more effective ways to get involved and make a difference.
Alex Speers-Roesch, a climate campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, explained that the term “carbon footprint,” which is the measure of total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by a person, organization, event or product, is actually from The multinational oil and gas company BP was popularized in the early 2000s to put the burden of change on the individual.
« It’s good for people to think about the emissions associated with the things they use, but there is sometimes a trend in the way carbon footprints are talked about and promoted that seeks to Charging individuals and consumers in some way for these emissions can be unfair, ”he told CTVNews. ca during a telephone interview at the end of November.
Lauren Latour, Climate Action Network Canada’s Coordinator of Climate Action Network Canada, cited a study from a few years ago that found that since 1988, only 100 companies have been responsible for 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
She also referred to another recent study that claimed that frequent flying “superemitters”, who make up just 1 percent of the population, were responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions from aviation in 2018.
« The average Canadian is not responsible for the lion’s share of the harmful effects of climate change, » Latour said during an interview with CTVNews. approx end of November.
While both Latour and Speers-Roesch said Canadians should consider the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the goods and services they consume and how their individual choices affect the environment, they said there are other, more impactful ways to go she gives to address these problems climate emergencies.
« It will not be individual consumer actions that address the climate crisis. We really need collective action from all of us working together to bring about systemic change, « said Speers-Roesch.
Canadians interested in doing their part to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions can first seek more information on the issue from environmental organizations dedicated to the cause, Speers-Roesch suggested.
He said there are many climate protection groups in Canada, such as Greenpeace Canada, 350 Canada, Environmental Defense, and Climate Action Network Canada.
« Find such a group, sign up for the email list and see if you can get involved, » he said. “However, once you start looking, you see, ‘Oh, there are options everywhere. ’”
According to Speers-Roesch, Canadians can also search for climate change events in their region. For example, if there is a protest nearby, he suggested that we see what it was about and meet other participants.
“As you connect with others, get more involved, and get involved more, you are likely to have more ideas,” he said. « Before you know it, you will have a lot of things to do with climate change. ”
Latour acknowledged that getting involved in politics can be “scary” for many people, but it doesn’t have to be, and there are many ways to get involved by participating in community-led initiatives.
She said Canadians could join local organizations working to influence government policies at the community level.
« For example, a city can switch its bus fleet from combustion buses to low-emission buses, hybrid or electric buses or an electric light rail system, » she said.
According to Latour, Canadians can also volunteer for mutual aid dedicated to building resilience in their city or region. For example, she cited the groups that have stepped up in recent years to mitigate the effects of flooding in the Ottawa area.
« In many places, we see local authorities and smaller communities that are really leading the way in climate change and climate policy, » she said.
“Individual changes are important and these individual changes are incorporated into the organization of the community and influencing your policies and local legislation. ”
Speers-Roesch also said political activism is one of the most important things Canadians can do to get involved in the fight against climate change.
« Most of the emissions come from industry and are the result of government policy decisions. So this is really the most important and powerful place for people to focus their energies, « he said.
The Greenpeace activist said Canadians should read up on their local politicians’ environmental platforms and encourage them to act.
« Call your MP, call your MP or city council, » he said. “Let them know that you want them to do more about climate change. ”
Finally, Speers-Roesch said Canadians can still do their part by incorporating climate change issues and driving the conversation forward in their daily lives.
« Think about how you can bring climate activism into your existing life, » he said. “It doesn’t always have to be necessary to find another group and join them. ”
As an example, Speers-Roesch said that someone who is already part of a book club that meets weekly could suggest a book to read about climate change.
He said they could also organize an event within an organization they are already involved in, such as at their workplace, school, sports team, church, or temple, to raise awareness.
« Look for one little thing you can do every week to make your voice heard and to get active and committed to climate change, » advised Speers-Roesch. “Climate change is something we really need to affect every aspect of our lives, our work and everything we do. ”
People take part on Saturday 26. September 2020, took part in a protest against climate change in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Graham Hughes
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