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Opinion  •  3 min

I’m happy to hear politicians talking about our ideas

Marc-André Viau

Director, Government Relations

Published on 

When your mission is to fundamentally change the systems on which our society is based, you can’t expect to see immediate results from your efforts. It often takes a few seasons before the seeds that we plant bear fruit. Our messages, recommendations and proposed solutions - we repeat them over and over again, and we don’t give up. We know that if we keep hammering away, our ideas will eventually get through.

In my role as Director of Government Relations at Équiterre, I'm encouraged by recent statements and reactions from some members of our provincial government. How can I be encouraged, you may ask? After a summer of unprecedented forest fires, floods and smog?

I'm encouraged because we’re hearing more and more of our recommendations being talked about by our decision-makers, in the media and around the kitchen table. We’re helping to advance the environmental discourse into the public arena - a crucial part of moving climate action forward.

It's unfortunate that we had to wait for the climate emergency to hit us in the face for the government to finally react and start talking about the necessary measures, but climate change is now dictating the political reality. It’s prompting awareness and significant changes.

A few examples:

This increase in government environmental awareness is strong, because it’s being motivated by the enormous amounts of money that are currently being paid out and will continue to be paid out because of the effects of climate change. It’s no longer just about protecting the environment; it’s also about protecting Quebec. And it’s getting expensive! It’s no longer just the Ministry of the Environment that has to deal with the economic, social and environmental impacts of climate change. These are cross-sectoral issues that require cross-sectoral responses.

There’s a lot at stake right now for our province's future

Developing the car battery industry is not what’s going to save us. It’s the major decisions around how we plan to use and manage our land and our cities, so that every person, family, business, organization and political body is able to succeed and live well with a smaller environmental and energy footprint. It’s updating our priorities when it comes to decisions about our valuable renewable hydroelectric energy resources. It’s deciding what we do (or don’t do) with our nourishing and carbon-capturing forests, waterways, and farmland. We unfortunately can't do everything -- choices must be made.

The government is now more fully aware of the effects of climate change and is dealing with the shock. Its back is against the wall. We've got to keep pushing forward, hammering away, and maintaining the pressure. Because our ideas are making their way, and the government is realizing how important it is to pay attention to them.

We need your help to keep up the pressure

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