Letter to the Editor: Laura Sacks

Earth Day still worthwhile?

Re: “Is Earth Day Necessary,” (editorial) and “Blockadia Comes to the Kootenays,” both April 16

After finishing the article about Naomi Klein’s visit (Blockadia), I read with irony your editorial questioning the need for Earth Day because we have long-since learned to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Even if that were so, we are in a much more dire situation today — standing at the brink of a human-induced climate crisis of a magnitude not seen for millions of years. As the Blockadia article points out, we are headed to a 4-6 degree C planetary warming this century unless we drastically change course.

Experts expect this type of warming to result in massive disruptions in world food supplies, cause lasting droughts and extreme weather events, and collapse our socio-economic systems. Alarm bells are ringing from conservative institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the US military, and NASA.

Clearly theses dire forecasts cause many of us to check out because it is too overwhelming to face. So in that light, I do applaud your suggestion for positive messaging in Earth Day celebrations. There may still be time to slow the climate crisis if enough of us demand it from our government.

Clean technologies are currently available that can be quickly scaled up, costs have dropped dramatically, and all that we are missing is political will. The clean energy sector in Canada already employs more people than the oil sands. Imagine the jobs that would be created if we got serious!

A really important first step in this transition is to have a national policy that effectively and fairly prices carbon — such as carbon fee-and-dividend — to account for the damage that fossil fuels are doing to our world.

This price should start low and ramp up over time to give businesses time to plan and to allow innovative technologies to get to market.

As well, it would incentivize energy retrofits of existing buildings — which in itself could employ many thousands of Canadians with jobs at home in our communities, instead of having to work “up north” extracting fossil fuels. As best-selling author Tom Rand described when he spoke in Nelson last month, we can have a future of clean energy abundance.

So let’s celebrate Earth Day as an opportunity to pledge to make this world livable for future generations!

Laura Sacks

Upper Glade

Local chapter leader

Citizens’ Climate Lobby