The new reality of climate change is perpetual states of emergency. Last summer municipalities declared states of emergency due to tornadoes and torrential rain falls. This year the summer skies are smoke filled from forest fires that rage across Manitoba, making it particularly hard for those with respiratory issues to breathe. 2019 was supposed to be the worst drought in Manitoba history, with more than 10 Manitoba municipalities declaring states of emergency due to drought conditions. Unfortunately, it appears that 2021 may even be worse with Manitoba municipalities already declaring states of emergency due to this year’s severe drought conditions. These many smaller emergencies are just a part of the larger planetary emergency that we are facing.
For decades scientists, and Green parties the world over, have been calling for the need to take meaningful and sincere action to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change. This past month a group of more than 14,000 scientists signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency due to government failure to address the over exploitation of the earth by humanity.
When I first ran as a candidate for the Green Party of Manitoba in 2007, one of the reasons that I hopped on my bike to traverse rural Manitoba was to highlight the need to shift away from fossil fuels to address climate change.
I must admit that there are dark moments when I feel disillusioned. I find myself thinking: “this was all so obvious and preventable, why did we as a society and as a species fail to act sooner?” However, it is even more important that we grasp for hope in these dark smoke filled moments. As the American writer, historian, and activist Rebeca Solnit says: “Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. … To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.”
With less than a decade for humanity to get its act together, the mission of the Green Party of Manitoba is more important now than ever. If you have not become a member already, please consider joining us in a mission of making sustainable Manitoba.