Author: Sabrina Bowman, Outreach Director at GreenPAC
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.
I’ve been involved in the environmental field for about 15 years or so, and in the past eight years, I’ve watched the environment be disregarded through the destruction of environmental regulations, de-funding of scientists, and pursuing of environmental charities that are critical of the tar sands.
At the same time, environment continues to rank high in the list of priorities for Canadians. And some provinces (BC, Ontario and Quebec for example) are taking on our environmental issues such as climate change with commitment.
Despite this excellent regional work, we still need to see leadership at the federal level. It would be wonderful if, we went from being environmental laggards on the world stage, to leading the charge in global environmental sustainability. I’d love to see the day when we are innovators in green energy, water and energy efficiency, compact cities and smartly planned infrastructure, and harvesting resources in ways that respect indigenous people and the resources themselves.
In order to get there though, we are going to require a much stronger dedication to putting the environment at the top of the federal “to-do” list. I wish it were as simple as electing a different government, but I don’t think that’s the case. There needs to be a fundamental shift in all the parties towards not only understanding environmental and economic sustainability, but embracing it. We need to see all parties and their representatives making the link between the environment and economy, and recognizing that you can’t have one without the other.
How does this shift occur? It starts with relationships and the parties themselves. Like you and I, all parties have people with varying opinions. Just because they share an ideology does not mean they agree on everything. GreenPac is going to find those candidates who are driven towards environmental protection, regardless of party lines. By working with them, there’s an opportunity to find other similarly-minded people in each party and to start pushing the environment across parties.