Canada is burning; Protesters visit MP’s office
By David Rapaport
On Wednesday, June 28, climate activists from British Columbia to Newfoundland spoke loudly and nationally against the silence and inadequate response that they perceive to the growing climate catastrophe in Canada and everywhere. The climate action group, 350.org, organized and coordinated protests at the constituency offices of over 30 MPs across Canada. Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock was one of those ridings. Over 25 local activists, mostly from Kawartha Lakes, showed up at the Lindsay office of their Member of Parliament, Jamie Schmale.
The theme for the day’s events was ‘Canada is Burning.’ According to a press release issued by protest organizers, that should be evident to any breathing person in southern Ontario (and Quebec and New York State and New England). Over 500 forest fires are now burning across Canada and most of them are out of control. These fires are unseasonably strong, large and many. Meteorologists and climatologists believe they are the results of climate change.
Protest attendee Glenda Morris says that “along with heat domes, flooding, more and stronger hurricanes (that even make their way to the Canadian Maritimes), rising sea levels and melting polar ice caps, these extreme forest fires all indicate that climate change is a real existential threat to all of us.” Morris expects her MP “to take the climate crisis seriously, to hold the government to account and to get his party to come up with a real climate change program.”
Another protester, David Robertson, argues that “the severity of the forest fires this early in the season is a clear sign that we have entered the danger zone of climate breakdown. This is not accidental. This is climate arson.” The press release issued by the Kawartha-Lakes protest organizers notes that currently over 100,000 Canadians have had to flee their homes and over 19 million acres of forest have been affected by the fires.
The 350.org web site (https://350.org/canada-burning/) points out that “it is only June and Canada has already experienced the worst wildfire season on record. Major wildfires are sweeping through almost every province and territory. Thousands have been evacuated and tens of millions experienced dangerously toxic smoke-filled air.” They then issued two demands. The first calls for a stop to the fossil fuel industry “by ending subsidies, hard caps for emissions and no more industry influence over our politics.” The second demand calls for a “Just Transition; meaning urgently shifting us to 100% renewable energy while generating millions of jobs.”
The main organizer for the Lindsay protest was Minden MD Nell Thomas. “We are watching the acceleration of our planet’s environmental deterioration as the systems that influence the earth’s weather patterns are destabilizing in a domino effect. Nature is a balancing act — a multitude of interconnected systems seeking homeostasis (equilibrium). A few degrees off in one system can be compensated by other systems. We see this in the human body: the kidneys reduce urine if you are dehydrated; the heart speeds up if your blood pressure is low.”
“But as the number of systems failures increases, and as the degree of failure increases, the accommodations and compensations will start to fail. Each one that fails burdens the others and they all falter and fail. Our world is in crisis mode. It is on life support, and we are not responding fast enough. We need to be loud and clear with our expectations of government leaders. Transforming the energy sector is critical. The fragile equilibrium of our planet requires investment in clean renewable energy and the end of all investment in fossil fuel, oil, gas, petroleum. Now.”
350.org is busy planning more climate protests.