Dear Mr. Prime Minister: 12th of June, 2020
Re: Covid-19, Climate Crisis, and a Just Recovery
I am glad to hear you received my recent letter, and I understand our government has requested public input into shaping a recovery from Covid-19, open for submissions until Friday, June 19th.
These are strange times, and strange times call for bold thinking. We are seeing change occur
on a global scale at unimaginable speed. We are learning what we’re capable of, how we can co-operate when it’s necessary. We’re learning to put aside our sense of difference and pull together for the common good. The “common good” relates to our security in Canada and world-wide. How do we create a “common security” for us all, one that addresses our very basic needs for health care, shelter, clean water, nourishing food, education and personal dignity? And how do we fund it?
Surprisingly, the answer to funding is not that complicated. Our world spends approximately $2 Trillion/year on war-preparation & war-making (www.WorldBeyondWar.org) Now, that is a staggering amount. Many people hear numbers like this and turn away. It’s just too big to contemplate. Yet, contemplate it we must if we want a viable world for our children and grandchildren. We are now in what’s called “Decade Zero” – meaning we can’t put off addressing our addiction to oil and gas. We have to reduce our CO2 emissions now. We know from the research that renewable energy provides far more jobs than oil and gas, and that the arms trade, war-preparation and war-making are rooted in fear and corporate greed. We can do better. We must revisit our commitment to an outdated NATO, and our arms sales to Saudi Arabia in view of their ongoing human rights violations. We must revisit our military budget and rethink the idea of more fighter jets and warships. Will they really keep us any safer?
In the midst of our Covid-19 crisis, we are seeing clean air above cities, hearing more birdsong, savouring our connections to family and friends, planting food gardens, finding meaning in service to others, and acknowledging those in essential services who are giving so much, at risk to themselves. We are seeing people’s dignity remaining intact thanks to the government’s CERB and other enlightened policies. We are relearning community, and it’s global. These things are what matters. In crisis, there is opportunity, and our opportunity is to shift gears on a massive level.
We must let go of our outdated, ineffective modes of thinking around what it means to be secure, and choose to change the paradigm. Let us gather our strength and take action for a world that works for everyone. We can do this. The principles underlying a Just Recovery lay a framework for what is needed. (www.justrecoveryforall.ca) Please explore them!