Thursday September 17 2020
The emergence of COVID-19 was first identified on 30 December 2019 and declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. Before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, global emissions of carbon dioxide were rising by about 1% per year during the previous decade. But as a result of the shut-down of many economies worldwide, CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been reduced from between 17 and 22% globally. This shows that even a temporary slowdown in industry can result in a positive effect on the environment.
However, as countries around the world begin to return to a normalised production standard which has created a global crisis based on a flawed system of values, it is apparent that corporate priorities have not shifted to solutions for the current climate emergency. Profit motives, such as consumerism, consumption and globalization continue to threaten humanity. Global temperatures continue to rise, coastal shorelines are eroding, marine wildlife and entire ecosystems are under threat of extinction, wildfires and storms continue to be evermore common and intensified. Our current economic system locks us into these destructive practices; governments are relaxing environmental restrictions on resource extraction while clean infrastructure investment is being stalled and oil and gas subsidies are prioritized. Concrete figures for oil and gas subsidies are difficult to obtain and often cloaked in secrecy, but conservative estimates say it cost $7.9 billion in tax dollars in 2019 alone.
The climate justice movement has seen some significant success amid many political obstacles: The stalling of Energy East and Trans Mountain, fracking bans in Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, coal phase outs across much of Canada and direct actions such as the one million students across the World on a climate strike on March 15th, 2019, the 8 million people who marched in Solidarity on September 25th, 2019. As more and more people, especially young people, understand the seriousness of climate change, bold steps continue to be taken to protect our land, our waterways, our future generations and the planet.
It’s up to us
As with last year at this time, we are calling for members to participate or organise – as best they can while respecting social distancing – actions in the street and online for the “Global Day of Climate Action” scheduled worldwide for September 25th.
We need a Just Recovery leading to a Just Transition for working people.
The past year has been one of serious challenges for working people here and abroad. Globally, millions of workers have lost their jobs – the vast majority without the protections afforded by being in a union in a developed country. All the while, the climate crisis eats away at the future of our children and grandchildren. While governments may have responded with some positive measures in the short-term, we need to be vigilant and ask ourselves: what kind of recovery do we want and what path do we take to get there?
Do we want a recovery predicated on greater inequality and climate destruction, or can we come out of the pandemic as a society that is more caring, and one that is based on principles of justice?
As postal workers, even prior to COVID-19, we identified how integral CUPW and Canada Post can be to this needed change through Delivering Community Power.
Now more than ever, there is a way out of this quagmire – it is to support a Just Recovery leading to a Just Transition for workers. We need to be vocal and demand a response predicated on the six principles of a Just Recovery.
Between now and September 25th, here’s what you can do:
Find out about actions being organised in your community by visiting https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bUCAZYvNSiuyjL225M3WBQ
- Don’t see an event in your community? Organise one yourself and submit it at the above address.
- Learn more about the six principles for a just recovery by visiting: https://justrecoveryforall.ca/
- You can also share your ideas, send them to: email@example.com.
- Tune in to anyone of the launches being held for Seth Klein’s new book A Good War: Mobilising Canada for the Climate Emergency:
Please note that the launches are taking place in English only.
You can check out www.fridaysforfuture.org for further information on global actions.
Moments when the seemingly impossible becomes possible are rare and precious.
DON’T LET THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY BE FORGOTTEN
1st National Vice-President
National Union Representative, Alternate Education