The climate crisis is here.
Arctic permafrost is melting, forests, towns, and Indigenous territories are burning. Climate change, pollution and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic injustices, and states of emergency – declared for once-in-a-century floods – are becoming commonplace, as millions around the world already face dislocation and starvation.
To make matters worse, this isn’t the only crisis we face. Economic inequality, precarious work, a housing crisis, and rising racism threaten our communities and social fabric. And yet year after year, Canada’s emissions are stuck at historic highs, two billionaires control as much wealth as almost a third of the population, and 46% of Canadians are within $200 of insolvency. Reported hate crimes increased nearly 50% in 2017, and the number of white supremacist groups in Canada has grown 200% between 2015-2018.
It’s decision time: we can either descend into division and disaster or come together with a far-reaching plan to avoid it and build a safe, just and prosperous future for all of us.
All around the world people are rising to demand solutions to these crises. Young people are marching across the planet in the hundreds of thousands, showing the moral clarity on climate that we want to see from our politicians. As 16-year old Greta Thunberg said: “If the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me that is black or white. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilization or we don’t. We have to change.”
Indigenous teachings and scientific evidence tell us our window to act is closing fast. The UN climate process now recognizes the central role of Indigenous rights and knowledge in addressing the crisis, and the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change really lays it on the line. We have less than 11 years to cut our emissions in half while protecting our remaining cultural and biological diversity. Otherwise, we face catastrophic impacts and this crisis moving beyond our control.
Current global, federal, and provincial climate change plans and agreements fall disastrously short of what is necessary. But scientists are crystal clear about what it will take: the next decade must see “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
This level of change is indeed a matter of survival, and it will take historic leadership and ambition to get there. But it is also an unprecedented opportunity to build justice and prosperity: a Green New Deal for all.
The Pact for A Green New Deal
A Green New Deal is a vision of rapid, inclusive and far-reaching transition, to slash emissions, protect critical biodiversity, meet the demands of the multiple crises we face, and create over a million jobs in the process. It would involve the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), dozens of other pieces of legislation, new programs and institutions, and a huge mobilization calling on the creativity and participation of all of us.
We know that when the state perceives an emergency, rapid transformations occur. Banks are saved, auto companies are bailed out. We have the ability to build a 100% renewable economy based on public ownership and dignified, well-paying work and know that the federal government, in collaboration with all other levels of government and Indigenous Nations, has the capacity to pull this off. But we also know that only the people – in a deep, wide, and democratic process – can give it the legitimacy and true diversity it needs to succeed.
THEREFORE WE INVITE ALL SECTORS OF SOCIETY TO LAUNCH
THE YEAR OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL:
We call on workers, Indigenous communities, students, trade unions, migrants, community organizations and people across the country to gather, define and design a plan for a safe future and more prosperous present. The conversation about a Green New Deal for Canada must be led from the ground up.
We call on all politicians and political parties to respond to the demands of the people with a Green New Deal that rests on two fundamental principles:
- It must meet the demands of Indigenous knowledge and science and cut Canada’s emissions in half in 11 years while protecting cultural and biological diversity.
- It must leave no one behind and build a better present and future for all of us.
That means beginning with the foundational rights and sovereignty of Indigenous communities, and implementing UNDRIP, FPIC, and the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
It means ensuring that solutions are universal and far reaching.
It means, as we transform our systems of transit, energy, housing, agriculture, and public services, that we’re creating dignified work that can support families.
It means no migrants are exploited because their status is precarious, and no resource workers are asked to sacrifice hard-won wages and benefits as they work in new industries.
It means making all our communities healthier.
It means reconnecting and feeling safe again.
It means all of society heeding the call from young people, and coming together with a plan to sustain this generation and the seven that come after it.
A Green New Deal must lift us all, together.
TOGETHER WE MAKE THIS PACT TO LAUNCH THE YEAR OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL.
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US.