Thursday, May 22, 2008

What Now? - Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I was alarmed when I read an article by Bill McKibben in the LA Times, which I copied below. McKibben draws attention to some pretty strong language coming from Jim Hansen, chief climatologist for NASA, and Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Their message: the human community needs to get very serious very soon about reducing the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – from the current 385 to 350 – in order to stave off runaway climate change.

In the words of Pachauri: "If there's no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment."

What now?

I take warnings from an international body of scientists very seriously – particularly ones that win Noble Peace Prizes for their work. I have to say, I’m scared. I’m also motivated to take action. I take responsibility for my own carbon footprint and do my bit to reduce it: take transit and ride my bike, eat local and organic produce, compost, turn down the thermostat, plan for a home energy audit and reduce my air travel.

I’m doing my bit and I know I’m not alone. It’s just that right now we’re kind of all waiting for you, our leader, to act in a big way. “This is the defining moment.” I certainly feel that. I want to tell my young niece and nephew when they are older that I was part of world movement that turned the climate crisis around. Such a feat will not be possible without great motivating leaders.

We need someone to step forward and be the leader of our time – as Churchill was during World War II. We need someone to rally the troops - someone to guide us through this critical time. Canada has tremendous potential in renewable energy and green technology which it needs to pursue immediately. Moreover, our country can and should be a leader in helping to transform the world into a sustainable one. We just need aggressive policies that reward sustainable behaviour and punish polluters. We need these policies now.

Now is the time for you to step forward and be one of the most important leaders of all time, someone who rose to the occasion and helped turn this crisis around. What will be your legacy? If Hansen, Pachauri and their colleagues are correct – we either change the course of the climate crisis or we condemn our descendents to a difficult existence. How will you be remembered?

Please do not respond with what you are doing already. I know you are working on the problem, but it is not enough. The mounting evidence demands a swifter and more effective response. My question is: what do you plan to do about it?

Yours respectfully,
Cheryl McNamara
Toronto, ON


Mollyh said...

Hi Cheryl! Great letter, and great blog. I just discovered your blog recently and it's a pleasure to read such thoughtful and informed posts. I actually just started an article about Bill McKibben on Green Wikia, and started one on the 350 campaign a couple weeks ago. I'd love it if you'd take a look and add on:

Cheryl McNamara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl McNamara said...

Thanks Molly H. Green Wikia is fabulous! I've linked it to my blog. Thanks also for letting me know about Project 350 - again another added link. I'll keep my eye on Green Wikia to see if there's anything I can contribute.

Thanks so much for sharing and the invitation.