Good Sunday Morning – September 3

Good Sunday Morning and Happy Labour Day weekend!

I am so very happy to report that I am finally home in Sidney! Yesterday was a great opening of the historic and legendary Saanich Fair – held in the same location every fall since 1868! I will be at the fair at least part of today and Monday so do drop by the Green Party tables to say hi. I will also be at the Salt Spring Fall Fair on September 10 and Adam Olsen will be there on Saturday the 9th. Here is the sign-up sheet for SSI Fall Fair volunteers. 

We are blessed to have smoke-free skies and lovely weather.  Thinking of all those communities still under evacuation alerts and evacuation orders.

As the fires burn through millions of acres of Canadian forest, John Vaillant’s book Fire Weather is an incredibly timely piece of brilliant writing. Thank heavens his analysis is also making it into the mainstream press, such as this condemnation of Big Oil in The Globe and Mail. He really nails it calling the industry “state-sanctioned sociopathy”.

What follows are excerpted quotes from John Vaillant’s Globe opinion piece from industry executives:

“Here’s Exxon CEO Darren Woods: ‘At the end of the day, we’re a molecule company, not an electron company.’ In other words, Exxon intends to develop, sell, and burn petroleum products for the foreseeable future while making no effort to transition to renewables.

“Shell’s new CEO, Wael Sawan, had the chutzpah to tell the BBC that cutting oil production would be ‘dangerous and irresponsible.‘

“Has Mr. Sawan looked at a thermometer lately? Has he seen the fires burning in B.C., Alberta, and now, Louisiana, where so many petroleum workers (are trying to) live?

“Meanwhile, Canada’s own Suncor, whose stated mission is ‘to provide trusted energy that enhances people’s lives while caring for each other and the Earth,’ has sold off its forward-looking renewables business, and hired former Exxon VP Rich Kruger as its new CEO. We know where Exxon’s priorities lie, and so does Mr. Kruger, who has paid no lip service to renewables, decarbonizing, or anything else biologically life-affirming. ‘We are in the business to make money, and as much of it as possible,’ he said, ‘and everybody, starting with me, needs to see how they do that.’”

These are the very same companies that had claimed to be committed to net zero. Those who want to believe that industry will play a constructive role in ending our reliance on fossil fuels should give their head a shake. Making billions was always a higher goal than leaving a habitable earth to support human civilization.

The clarity of the recent declarations and allegiance to self-interest reminded me of a searing piece of satire I had seen years ago.  It is called “Australians for Coal” and was posted on line in 2014. I had a bit of trouble finding it again. If you find the F-word deeply offensive, then do not watch it. If, on the other hand, you find corporate greed and malfeasance offensive, you’ll love this:

I am angry at these companies and their CEOs.  Just like tobacco and Big Pharma, they have lied and continue to lie to make money. Tobacco and big pharma caused the deaths of millions in the process. But fossil fuel companies are perhaps uniquely venal in toying with the annihilation of the biosphere and human civilization itself. In a summer of fires and floods they have thrown off their mantle of hypocrisy to proclaim their goal of profits over people.

I am not sure how we can, as a party, hold them and their happy handmaidens in other parties to account. And more critically how do we make it clear that the competing priority of the affordability crisis is largely due to the climate crisis? Surely it is not hard to grasp that as crops fail due to drought and extreme weather events, higher food prices are due to climate instability. Yet most news stories fail to make any link at all. This is a typical story – polling shows Canadians care about climate, but will put climate on a back burner due to the affordability crisis. Unlike most news stories, however, this one at least raises the possibility that the climate crisis is related to higher food prices. I don’t know about you, but it does feel to me as though the conversation has shifted toward more climate awareness and urgency. Since last week I have heard of many more climate marches planned for September 15th, including in Ottawa, Montreal and Victoria. Will millions march? Can we find slogans and signs that make the point that Fossil Fuels are our common enemy? What is the right message?  

I have been toying with this little idea for years, but it is a bit edgy. What do you think?

When you want to offset carbon from taking a flight, planting a tree does not make much difference, especially as they can burn up.  How about “Don’t plant a tree – plant a billionaire!” Of course I am a pacifist.  Planting the rich may not be a good idea, but taxing them enough to make billionaires merely millionaires seems pretty fair. And taxes from the profits of Big Oil could go to a guaranteed livable income to end poverty and ensure every Canadian has a decent home. The gross inequities and gap between the obscenely wealthy and the abjectly impoverished should make everyone rage.

How do we focus our felt sense that a revolution is required against greed and rapacious corporate capitalism with a call for a new economy that sustains life? There will indeed be a new economy. It is inevitable. And those who embrace it first will be hugely wealthy. Clinging to fossil fuels will be costly. So more irony there. Do we call for a climate-proof future? or just a post carbon world grounded in justice. It already sounds preachy on this Sunday morning.

We are likely a few years from the next federal election but opportunities to make a difference are nearer at hand. One I am super excited about is the by-election in the Ontario riding of Kitchener-Centre. Yes the same riding name as Mike Morrice’s federal Green seat of Kitchener Centre! Any day now Premier Doug Ford will call for that by-election. Green candidate Aislinn Clancy has been hard at work for months – going door to door.  She is well positioned to double the Green caucus at Queen’s Park joining Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner there. What a chance to hit Doug Ford where it hurts for his vile land grab from prime farm land in the “protected” Greenbelt! A great oppotunity to show other parties that climate voters are now powerful.

Only Ontario residents can donate to her campaign, so please forward this to your friends and family in Ontario and suggest they do what a BC resident cannot and give financially to Aislinn’s campaign. She is elected at the municipal level already. We know from Saanich–Gulf Islands how great it is to have a Green MLA team up with a Green MP. Kitchener Centre is next! 

I plan to go there as soon as the writ drops – hoping I have more time to get through the next MRI in early October before I have to head east.

I do feel great. I still am reflecting with deep gratitude on my recovery. John and I think I had a “stroke of luck!” at least I know I am very lucky. Thanks for all the kind emails to which I am no longer bound and determined to answer each one. I do hear all of you who say “take it easy!” Thanks also for that!

Much love,Elizabeth

Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens