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Northern MPs support Climate Fast Pledge - Cathy Orlando

By: Guest Columnist

 | Oct 29, 2012 - 2:52 PM |
How do you feel when you read the following prediction and statistics?

The Arctic Ocean’s end of summer’s ice extent reached an all-time minimum this year. Some scientists are predicting that the Arctic Ocean’s summer ice cap will be gone seasonally by 2020.

This loss of the summer Arctic ice cap will have profound impacts on humanity’s capacity to grow food.

This year’s extreme weather has impacted food production: 80 per cent of Ontario’s apples were lost because of early blossoming followed by a cold spell; summer drought in 1,820 counties in 38 U.S. states resulted in losses of half the world’s corn crop and two-fifths of the world’s soya crop; the drought is continuing and currently 68 per cent of the U.S. winter wheat crop is threatened.

You may be experiencing some stage of grief with regards to what humanity has done to the planet, such as denial, helplessness, fear and/or anger. You may feel numb and depressed.

Have hope, because the last stages of grief are acceptance and then action. You might not have reached those stages just yet, but others have.

From Sept. 21 to Oct. 2, a dozen Canadians fasted and held a vigil on Parliament Hill to draw attention to the climate crisis. They had three simple requests of our Members of Parliament:

1) End fossil fuel subsidies;
2) Put a price on carbon;
3) Support the development of a renewable energy plan for Canada.

They urged Canadians to contact their politicians concerning the three simple requests. By the end of the campaign, roughly 400 Canadians pledged to do so. Excitingly, 84 MPs and 13 senators committed themselves, as well.

How do I know about this action? As the national manager of Citizens Climate Lobby, some of our volunteers assisted The Climate Fast Campaign.

I am proud to say that the following MPs from Northern Ontario signed the pledge: Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury), Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt), Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), Carol Hughes (Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing), John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River), and Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North).

I am almost certain that the grassroots will lead the way, because politicians, by the nature of their position are not leaders, but servants of the people. These politicians listened to their constituents and our concerns.

They then made a pledge to work towards effective solutions to the climate crisis.

Not one Conservative MP signed the pledge. They still can. They just need us, the people of Canada, to ask them do so.

The leadership of the Climate Fasters reminded me of what Margaret Mead said: “Forget everything I have been teaching you about governments and bureaucracies.

If we are to survive and create the world we could have — it’s a question of citizens’ volunteer groups; citizens getting together, deepening, growing, expanding their capacities, and then going out and making a difference.”

Cathy Orlando is the national manager of Citizens Climate Lobby. Canada’s Citizens Climate Lobby’s National Headquarters in Greater Sudbury will officially open Nov. 16. 

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