From COVID-19 to COURAGE 2020

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By SUE NEWMAN AND JAN SLAKOV

What can we learn from the pandemic? For starters, humans can adapt if we understand the need to act.

Our economies are human creations. It is possible, therefore, for us to recreate new models for our times. Canadian author and social activist, Naomi Klein, once explained that we must restructure them. She states: “We act as if there is no end to what is actually finite — fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful — the financial resources to build the kind of society we need. The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity.”

Around the globe, governments are set to invest heavily to rebuild economies in the wake of the COVID crisis. This gives us an opportunity — to go from COVID-19 to COURAGE 2020.

In other words, we can finally address: Climate action, old-growth protection, upholding Indigenous rights, restructuring our economy, guaranteed access to basics and equity. Another world is possible!

So, how can B.C. contribute to such restructuring? How can we citizens help?

For environmental protection starters, we need:

– a moratorium on old-growth logging;

– to protect the Peace River valley, with its precious farmland, sacred indigenous sites and territories; instead of throwing money at Site-C dam construction, which the Globe and Mail is calling a “cash bonfire,” let’s use it to fund a just and green transition.

– to stop fracking. Fracking contaminates water and is linked to increased earthquake activity, which can destabilize dams.

For economic restructuring, we need to:

– start funding projects focussed on remediation, conservation and renewables. There are plenty of jobs in these sectors. Misinformation leads us to think otherwise.

– provide guaranteed livable incomes. The CERB program has shown us just how productive, inventive and collaborative citizens can be, giving back to their communities and re-circulating that income, invigorating their local economies. Fairer taxation and monetary reform have been shown to improve societal productivity and wellbeing.

As for the Site-C dam “boondoggle,” the B.C. Utilities Commission provided ample reason to cancel the project, including citing geotechnical problems; may we learn from this difficult lesson. B.C. residents are and will be subsidizing the project regardless of whether the government finally has the courage to pull the plug on it. The current B.C. government granted even more generous subsidies to the LNG (fracked gas) industry than the previous Liberal government offered. Without those subsidies, some of which benefit international companies with terrible human rights records, the industry would not be viable.

The more we know about such injustices, the more we can improve future decisions.

So, let’s:

– end the violation of Indigenous rights, which includes construction of the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.

– better enforce environmental legislation.

– make sound, ethical decisions that take responsibility for past shameful debacles, for now and the future.

B.C.’s Guy Dauncey (the “practical utopian”) and economist Kate Raworth have plans for a just transition. We need to listen and remember that old ideas were once new, and that change requires courage.

Humans adapt! We listen! Returning to the old ways benefit only a few. The opportunity to shape just societies on a healthy planet is now!

Immediate action? Provide the political will for progressive change, one step at a time! Information on the danger and the opportunity this crisis presents is available on the https://courage-2020.wixsite.com/courage2020 site. Let’s make the Sept. 25 Global Day of Climate Action a real turning point for B.C.!

sources for information:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-bcs-site-c-has-become-a-cash-bonfire-hard-decisions-are-ahead/

https://thenarwhal.ca/b-c-subsidies-to-fossil-fuel-industry-more-than-830-million-last-year/

https://battlefordsnow.com/2020/01/15/horgan-says-rule-of-law-applies-lng-pipeline-will-proceed-despite-protests-2/

https://www.policynote.ca/big-fracking-mess/

https://thepracticalutopian.ca/2020/01/05/climate-emergency-a-26-week-transition-program-for-canada/

and watch this beautiful video!

The Great Realization, or Hindsight’s 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw5KQMXDiM4

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