Published on March 9th, 2016 | by Roy L Hales2
Calling For A National Summit On The Economy
March 9th, 2016 by Roy L Hales
Originally published on the ECOreport
The message applies to every nation, though the specifics would need to change. While it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s crusade for a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change, there can be no doubt that he has brought these issues to the forefront of national attention. But do they resonate with the average Canadian, especially the newly unemployed? Or someone whose business is in trouble? On the National last night, Rex Murphy was calling for a National Summit on the Economy, jobs and business.
The Reality Of Climate Change
He suggested for most Canadians, climate change is still a vague abstraction. They may accept the concept, but it does not have the same emotional impact as something that actually touches their lives.
The reality of climate change came home to many rural British Columbians last summer. Some wells ran dry, or shallow, as the drought that started in California finally reached us. There were people in the rain forests of British Columbia who needed to restrict their well water for drinking. They bathed in the ocean and imported water to use for washing and flush toilets. For the first time in our memories, a smoky haze settled across much of the province. There were reports of ash raining down in Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, and Nanaimo. Some, whose lungs were more sensitive, felt a burning in their chests until the winds finally shifted.
Unlike events like Hurricane Sandy, last summer’s weather was more inconvenient than catastrophic in British Columbia. I can’t speak for people living south of the border, where the severity has been more long lasting.
There is much evidence suggesting the drought was an anomaly, and though they agree it fits the pattern, most scientists are reluctant to say it was caused by climate change.
Personally, I give mental assent to their opinion and suspect this drought is over, but am slightly apprehensive as another summer approaches.
A Healthy Economy May Be The Precondition For Fighting Climate Change
I would rather climate change remain an abstract idea. Rex Murphy suggests that, for most Canadians, it still is. Yet we are in agreement that tying this to development of the economy may be the most effective way to fight climate change. Murphy said:
” … It is hard to get excited about global environment when your business is about to fail, or when public services are about to get cut. However directing high level priority to these immediate concerns, showing an urgency and compassion for those individuals facing the torment of finding a job in a job scare economy, would work wonders in widening and deepening acceptance of the other half of his agenda.
“Mr Trudeau, both by his persona and his position, has great leverage now: Much greater than most Prime Ministers mere days in office. If he were to utilize that leverage and with an equal passion, summon the Premiers to a second National Summit, to hear there thoughts on jobs, business, the economy and particularly the great number of newly unemployed, I think most Canadians, even those who are not his fans, would see it as a very fine balance.”
“A healthy economy is not the enemy of the environment. It’s at least a helpful partner and may be a precondition.”
I suspect that, regardless of their opinions about combating climate change, all Canadians would support a National Summit on jobs, business, the economy and unemployment.
Murphy’s call for a National Summit on the Economy to emphasize the dual emphasis needed as we journey into a more sustainable future could also be made in almost every nation on our planet. The particulars of that message may have to be adjusted to local personalities and concerns. Make it so.
Photo Credits: Screenshot from CBC’s the National; View of the smoke that covered BC last July, from Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island – Roy L Hales photo;Vancouver by faungg’s photos via Flickr (CC BY SA (2.0 License)