A Proactive Approach to Environmental Law

Prof. Lynda Collins is a member of GreenPAC’s Expert Panel, a diverse group of environmental academics from across the country. They have developed criteria to endorse political candidates who have demonstrated their environmental leadership. She is a member of the Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability at the University of Ottawa, with a background in legal approaches to toxic substances, including regulatory environmental law, toxic tort law, and the international law of environmental human rights. We sat down to chat about her career and how to use environmental law to prevent disasters.

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Does public opinion on environment match government action?

The vast Canadian wilderness is among our nation’s most iconic images. Our art, our flag, the symbols on our money, and even our commercials reflect the significance of nature for the Canadian identity. 85% of Canadians regularly participate in nature-related activities and 82% feel a deep personal connection to nature.[1] Not surprisingly, public concern for the environment has been a factor in our politics for over half a century.

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The cost of not solving climate change? We can't afford it.

On behalf of GreenPAC, Derick Ajumni sat down with Tom Rand from MaRS Discovery District to talk about the relationship between our government and the emerging cleantech industry. This is the second instalment of the multi-part series — you can read more about Canada's cleantech industry in part one.

 

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Let's Rebuild our Environmental Legislation

Meet Paula Boutis, environmental lawyer and member of the GreenPAC Board - she's helping us jumpstart environmental leadership in Canadian politics. We asked her to reflect on how she became interested in taking care of the world around us. 

 

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Building cleantech in Canada

Derick Ajumni sits down to chat with cleantech entrepreneur Tom Rand about climate solutions in this first installment of a three-part series. 

The cleantech industry can be a major driver for new investments and job growth in Canada. Especially today as the country gears up to become a cleantech leader. But to achieve this, effective public policy efforts are needed to support R&D that ensure ideas are tested and made readily deployable for a sustainable and economic future.

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Canada Needs Honest Discussion About a Green Economy's Potential

Nature was a fundamental part of my childhood experience. Not just because my family had an affinity for outdoor adventure, but also because it was part of the cultural fabric of growing up in Canada in the 70’s and 80’s.

My cultural touchstones were The Nature of Things, Hinterland Who's Who, Farley Mowat, Bill Mason, a portaging Prime Minister and, of course, Beachcombers and Danger Bay. I was saturated with a deep nostalgia for wilderness and awareness of its importance to my Canadian identity. Places I had yet to see, like Arctic tundra or the vast glaciers of the Rockies, were as real and as important to my worldview as my own backyard.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way I started thinking about nature as "the environment" — that is, something to worry about. 

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Two Decades of Decline

Canada used to be a world leader in environmental law.

Canadian approaches to environmental problems were seen as a model and used to set standards in other countries.1 Canadian diplomats and politicians led the early international movements to counter climate change and played fundamental roles in the establishment of environmental principles in international law.2 For young scientists entering their profession and wanting to make a contribution, the federal government was the place to be.3

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Leading the charge

As a Canadian, I identify deeply with the natural world we are surrounded by in this vast, wild country. When I was growing up, my parents had a cottage just south of Algonquin Park in Ontario. My brother and I would spend hours peering at fish through slats in the dock, swimming, exploring the back woods and creating fantastic worlds from rocks, sticks and pieces of moss that we found. Despite growing up in the urban heart of Toronto, I grew a tremendous appreciation for Canada’s natural world.

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The Doomsday Clock

I grew up under the nuclear shadow. I cannot remember the names of my middle school teachers or very many kids in my class, but I remember a group of older students coming from somewhere out east who showed us If You Love this Planet by Dr. Helen Caldicott and talked about global extermination.

I remember graffiti around Edmonton, where I grew up, of the Statue of Liberty pointing a gun and the stenciled words “10 minutes to midnight.”

The Doomsday Clock.

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GreenPAC wants to change the game on the environment in Ottawa

Reprinted with permission from The Hill Times, March 30, 2015

GreenPAC's goal is to make environmental concerns politically relevant by recruiting, nominating, electing, and supporting environmental champions.

Experts and activists often point to the devastating consequences of government failures to enact policies that protect our environment. And understandably, this is what public and media attention is drawn to when a mining disaster destroys a salmon fishery, when floods, storms and droughts are exacerbated by unpredictable changes in our climate, or when we lose an endangered animal or plant forever.

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