After a summer of devastating extreme weather events and stark IPCC report, 34 of Canada’s leading environmental organizations call on voters to demand transformative change
[OTTAWA, Unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People] -- With Canada’s 2021 federal election just five weeks away, a coalition of 34 Canada's leading environmental organizations are calling on everyone in Canada to vote on September 20 - and when they do, to vote for a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
The One Earth One Vote coalition is promoting a “demand statement” that voters can send to all federal party leaders to show the ever-growing percentage of Canadians that are committed to building a better, healthier, safer, sustainable and just Canada. For example, the State of Science Index 2021 reported that 63% of Canadians – and 81% of youth – say that the pandemic has made them more environmentally conscious. The One Earth One Vote demand statement focuses on upholding Indigenous rights and respecting Indigenous knowledge, on bold and ambitious climate action (including phasing out fossil fuels and guaranteeing a just transition to a sustainable clean energy economy), protecting and restoring nature and establishing environmental rights in Canada.
“This election is a can't-miss opportunity to elect a government bold, intelligent, responsible and compassionate enough to ensure that this pandemic recovery also helps solve the ecological and social justice crises we face,” said Megan Leslie, President & CEO of WWF Canada and the spokesperson for One Earth One Vote.
Summer 2021 has been the worst wildfire season in Canadian history, with several other climate impacts ravaging the country, including heat waves, droughts, floods, tornadoes and more. Meanwhile, a July 2021 study published in BioScience found that as the planet heats up, Earth’s “vital signs” are setting worrying new records and are either approaching or exceeding key tipping points. And the August 9 report from the IPCC (the world’s leading authority on climate change) further confirmed that the climate crisis is due to human activity (primarily burning fossil fuels); Earth is heating quicker than anticipated and is set to surpass the Paris Agreement target (1.5 C above pre-industrial levels) in the next 10-20 years; and emissions reductions targets from the 197 countries signed onto Paris - including Canada’s - are insufficient.
“The science is clear and sobering. We must act now,” explains Colleen Thorpe, Executive Director of Équiterre. “If we don't want even worse wildfires and more frequent pandemics to be our new normal, we must elect governments who will take ambitious action to drastically reduce our consumption of natural resources and invest in the health of people and planet.”
Over the course of just three months in the summer and fall of 2020, the coalition helped inspire concerned Canadians to send almost 200,000 messages to the federal government calling for a green and just recovery from COVID-19. For more information, visit https://oneearthonevoice.ca
A green and just recovery for Canada means above all, investing in a society that places people’s health and the well-being of natural ecosystems that sustain all species above corporate profits. That means that any investments made cannot set environmental progress back, undermine environmental justice, or be incompatible with Canada’s environmental commitments.
One Earth One Vote demand statement:
I demand that any government that represents me commit to the following actions towards a nature-positive, carbon-neutral and equitable world:
- Respect and uphold the rights, treaties, and conservation priorities of Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- Ensure that climate and nature action are a priority through a green and just pandemic recovery;
- Recognize the right to a healthy environment and take action on environmental justice and racism while improving laws that protect people and nature from toxics and plastic pollution;
- Reverse nature loss by protecting and effectively managing at least 30% of land and freshwater and 30% of ocean by 2030, and increasing investments in nature-based climate solutions;
- Invest in Indigenous-led land-use planning, the establishment of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and their stewardship by Indigenous Guardians; Indigenous-led efforts to restore and steward species-at-risk and habitat; and recognize and respect Indigenous knowledge in all aspects of nature conservation in Canada.
- Stop expanding and subsidizing fossil fuels and nuclear energy, and reduce Canada’s carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 to do our fair share globally;
- Ensure a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, with a plan that supports workers, communities, and marginalized groups in the just and fair transition to a sustainable economy.
For more information or a media interview, please contact: