Next steps in Canada…

Regarding the conference…

While we have had unprecedented numbers of participants, observers, heads of state, and collaborative efforts at this historic conference, there is still a lot of work we can take back home.  There are several key points we need to push:

  • Maximum warming at 1.5 degrees celsius, 350 ppm CO2
  • Legally binding, with clear penalties and actual enforcement mechanisms
  • Clear financing mechanisms put in place, including contributions and distribution methods
  • Targets need to be ambitious and approved by all parties (regardless if the targets are set by the international group or individual countries)
  • Clear, common but differentiated responsibilities need to be described for both developed and developing nations
  • In the case of other mechanisms, such as REDD or REDD plus, LULUCF, etc. the locals need to be considered and deeply involved in the process (this includes giving indigenous peoples the responsibility to be stewards of the land as they always have been)
  • Keeping the two-track process, preserving the KP and renewing a commitment period to 2020 (and beyond)

Provisions for dealing with issues such as influxes in  migrant environmental refugees, decreasing food sources, etc. were not openly discussed in a constructive manner at these conferences (these issues were brought up as evidence rather than as issues to be considering), probably because they are not directly relevant to the discussions of the KP or Convention.  They are however important issues to be concerned with as we can foresee complications like these arising in the near future regardless of any deal (or lack thereof).  Additionally, we need to decrease loopholes in items such as the CDM/Carbon Cap and Trade.  Realistic targets and limits which will directly address the climate crisis on both short and long-term bases within a clear and comprehensive text is what we need to focus on.

 Back in Canada

There are a number of things people back home can do, whether they’re part of a larger network/organization or not:

  • Educate each other based on hard facts, and look through the arguments of each side to assess the validity of each one’s evidence.
  • Empower those who are normally unable to be involved, and help those who are usually ignored to have a louder voice.
  • Fight to shut down the tar sands on a basis (as the sands slowly close, a new industry or industries will have to rise in order to take its place).
  • Encourage authorities to be more publicly inclusive and transparent.
  • Become aware of the injustices in your own region and strive to set them right (i.e. first nations rights, water issues, social injustices, corporate ownership, pollution, habitat and wildlife issues, etc).
  • Read the platforms of all parties before you vote, and if possible, tune into some debates and read up on what the candidate represents.  You may be surprised at how much more or less a party may actually represent your values than you originally thought.
  • To better understand an issue, make a point of meeting the people who are, have been, or will be affected by an injustice.  There’s nothing more real than experiencing it first hand, or at least befriending someone who does.

My final plan is what I call the Cross Canada Mobilization Strategy, which will basically give a voice to Canadians in every province and territory.  The Harper administration will have two chances, once to look over the document that will then be submitted, and a second to meet with each region’s representatives to discuss compromises.  After this point, if no agreement is found and Harper is still in office, efforts will be made to have him replaced.  Hopefully it does not need to get to this point.

During one of our actions (before getting kicked out of the Bella Center) we all walked around with signs taped on our backs.  Thus, I quote, “Canada: follow, lead, or go home.”


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