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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Matchmaker of Environmental Politics

Did you see the CBC National coverage of our launch? Is Canada ready for a new way of organizing?

We think so. 

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2015 is the Year for a Healthy Environment and Economy

We launched into 2015 with the energy that only a new year can bring. Resolutions started with good intention and perhaps were quick to end. The question is, can we keep our resolutions for the short or long-term?

Many of us made resolutions regarding our health – the gym and yoga studios were packed in January and February and the restaurants and bars were quieter. We even have fun gadgets to track our steps, spins and jumps with graphs, charts and virtual trophies. We were hopeful that our inspiration would last through the cold winter and beyond, as we know that we can enjoy our lives more if we are healthy over the long-term.

The same is true for the relationship between the environment and the economy. We need access to energy, water, food and fiber to support our communities and to build a vibrant global economy.

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