The Climate Crisis Must be a Priority for this Federal Election

Students and community members participate in the Global Climate Strike in Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 27, 2019. Photo by Derek Read via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY 2.0].

To those of you who are reading these words, I am not here to scare you, influence you negatively, or sway you from the urgent matter at hand. We are in the year 2019, with 2020 approaching in just three months, and there is a major emergency nearing very soon. In fact, too soon. It is the climate crisis.

Since 1896, climate scientists have published and spread their research, studies, and knowledge of the effects of human-caused greenhouse gases on the Earth’s global average temperature. They warned governments about the negative consequences that the burning of fossil fuels and the emissions of other harmful substances would have on the Earth, and the global average temperature. Unfortunately, these warnings were ignored by world leaders, and continue to be so. Since the year 1900, decades of climate scientists continued their studies, and continuously brought their findings to governments, politicians, and the public. They continuously gave updated predictions and calculations of how our world would be in the future. And still, nobody in political power listened and acknowledged the warnings of a global climate catastrophe. In the year 2000, I was only four years old. I was too young to be able to read and write, and was just starting to speak. I did not know what was going on in the world in the past 100 years.

In 2006, I was 10, and Al Gore came out with the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. I watched it multiple times, learning about the topic of climate change. In 2008, I watched a National Geographic documentary called Six Degrees Could Change the World, which is based on a book by Mark Lynas called Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. Watching this documentary alerted me to the severity of the climate crisis we are facing. Roughly three years after watching it, there were predictions of what would happen when the global average temperature increased by 1 degree Celsius. I did not know at the time that we were already approaching that milestone.

Once I was in high school, I had conversations with people about the direction the planet was going in. However, I did not hear much about the issue of climate change.

I began my studies at Trent in the French Studies Program in 2015. I am currently in my fifth and final year, graduating in April 2020. I can then celebrate all the joy, happiness, love and excitement experienced through my studies with teachers, friends, and all my positive relationships I’ve had during my time at Trent. This includes the intramural soccer I played, and the Head of the Trent Homecoming where I was the Toad mascot for my college Lady Eaton. I also attended sporting events where I got to see all the varsity teams play and eat great food. I also spent a year studying abroad in Nantes, France, where I had the time of my life.

It is now in 2019 where the topic of climate change is at its peak. There have been climate strikes all around the world, including in Peterborough, which I participated in. These strikes were held to get our government leaders to act immediately on creating change so that we can survive. Otherwise, we will succumb to the catastrophes that could be coming sooner than the predictions of climate scientists. They say we only have 11 years until a climate catastrophe is irreversible and unavoidable. The people in power are not listening. They haven’t been listening throughout my entire life, and even long before I was even born. Greta Thunberg would not have had to cross the Atlantic ocean and go to the United Nations Summit and proclaim that “our house is on fire” if world governments simply listened to the climate scientists. Their words, data, paper, and electronic statistics all warned of the negative consequences that could happen as a result of man-made greenhouse gases. The denial, ignorance, and absence of compassion for future generations since the year 1896 has occurred for way too long. Now is the time to act.

We have an election on October 21, and the fate of humanity and Canada will be decided. We can either vote for our death, or our life. When sea levels rise so much that our great world cities on coast lines are submerged; when people riot and flee and fight for their lives and start killing each other because there are no resources available to live; when all systems collapse, so financial, economic, the food industry, healthcare, housing, and education; when super storms happen and are the new status quo; when droughts, warming, and cooling go to extreme levels; when forest fires and torrential down poor, and all the previous mentioned happen, there is no escape. When your home is set on fire, you have the option to escape, and firefighters to extinguish the flames. The Earth, our home, is on fire and the fire is rapidly spreading. When those flames get to their pinnacle, there is no escape. There is no going to the moon, to Mars, or orbiting around the Earth waiting for a place to safely land after the catastrophes. There is no extinguishing the flames to save anyone.

Do you want to miss great cities like Toronto, London, Paris, New York City, Halifax, Tokyo, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Cairo, Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Montreal, Québec City, Ottawa, Shanghai, Seoul, Kyoto, Mumbai, New Delhi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Dakar, Dubai, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Mombasa, Giza, Soweto, San Francisco, Calgary, Edmonton, New Orleans, Barcelona, Venice, Miami, Athens, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, and Stockholm? How about great sporting events such as Formula 1 Racing, The FIFA World Cup, the Super Bowl, Wimbledon, The NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals, The UEFA Champions League, Rugby World Cup, The U.S Open, the PGA Championship, The Open, the Cricket World Cup, The Tour de France, and the Winter and Summer Olympics? What about winter holidays, Halloween with your kids, and any other cultural/religious celebrations, the beautiful start of spring, the vacations during summer, the return of school in September, and then going skiing at Mont Tremblant, or going to the heat of a Caribbean island in winter?

It is ultimately your choice for whom you vote, but I ask for your future, that of your kids, grandchildren, friends, and that of the human race and all species, that you read all the parties’ platforms thoroughly, and ask what they will do to avoid a global climate catastrophe from occurring. We need immediate action implemented on day one of the sitting of Parliament in the House of Commons. In this election, the choice is yours: the death or life of human beings, all species, and the world as we know it on planet Earth.