The Canadian government needs to take serious action on climate change

If you have a phone or internet access, you’ve probably seen the 10-year challenge floating around—people posting photos of themselves in 2019 contrasted with 2009.
 
People’s pictures have highlighted how they age—or haven’t seemed to—yet one change that’s been particularly alarming in the past 10 years is the degradation of the environment—a process that’s gone unimpeded for the last decade. 
 
Despite being warned about the catastrophic consequences of climate change year after year, we continue to do nothing. 
 
The clashes between the RCMP and protestors from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in British Columbia illustrate how our federal government has failed yet again in committing to meaningful climate action. 
 
In Wet’suwet’en, the gas company Coastal GasLink is trying to access Indigenous land to create a natural gas pipeline that will supply a natural gas plant in Kitimat, B.C. 
 
The project is slated to bring 2,500 jobs to the area and grow the domestic economy, but that’s not enough. In a recent Toronto Star article, writer Rebecca Thomas pointed out our skewed priorities. 
 
“We subsidize, clear cut, extract, and mine resources without much thought as to what comes next—as though these resources are infinite in their time frame as long as we can squeeze one more paycheque out of the ground,” Thomas wrote.  
 
Many of Canada’s decisions are made for an immediate economic return without much care for long-term costs.
 
But we’re at a point where we can no longer ignore what’s happening to our earth. 
 
A recent UN report says we have only 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. If not, we’ll be faced with floods, droughts, and other ecological disasters that could plunge hundreds of millions of people into poverty and, possibly, worse. 
 
To avoid large-scale climate disaster, we need to make drastic changes as a society. 
 
As an oil- and gas-dependent economy, Canada has the opportunity to take a lead role in this endeavour. Yet, our government continues to push our economy in the direction of fossil fuels, squandering our opportunity to take an active role in the fight against climate change. 
 
We need to seriously realign our economic priorities if we want to ensure a safe future for coming generations. The Coastal GasLink programs further entrench our economic dependency on oil and gas and prove Canada has little regard for its impending doom. 
 
The federal government needs to invest in green infrastructure and sustainable jobs. An economy based on our environment’s destruction through extraction industries cannot create viable, long-term economic benefits for Canadians. 
 
The time for change is yesterday—we need to pay attention to our planet and stop making decisions based on profits. 
 
Brigid is The Journal’s Arts Editor. She’s a fourth-year Politics student.
 

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