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Letter: These parents want climate justice and will stand in the rain to get it

'[We] are asking Wilkinson to push for bold climate action when he represents Canada as the new minister of natural resources'
Climate Action COP26 photo Lorna Pelly web
Parents Elyse Curley, Emma Campbell, Madeleine Campbell and Lorna Pelly rally outside the Lower Lonsdale constituency office of MP Jonathan Wilkinson on Friday, Oct. 29, in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this week.
Dear Editor:

Last week, in the pouring rain, I met with a group of parents outside member of Parliament for North VancouverJonathan Wilkinson’s office. We presented his team with some artwork and delivered a letter, prior to him attending the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this week. Our message was one of urgency and of hope, asking Wilkinson to push for bold climate action when he represents Canada as the new minister of natural resources.

The artwork showed children holding signs to explain that carbon emissions have continued to rise over the course of all previous COP meetings, and their hope for the future that we phase out fossil fuels and start to decrease emissions. Our letter to Minister Wilkinson stated “we are looking to you to be bold on the world’s stage when it comes to climate commitments and commit to real, immediate climate action.”

My fellow volunteers and I are part of a national climate action group called For Our Kids, a network of parents and grandparents who are fighting for climate justice. So, how does a small group of parents standing outside their MP’s office in the rain feel they can have any impact on the massive problem of climate justice? Because decision-makers need to hear our voices and see our actions.

Over the past decade there has been a big trend in promoting individuals to do more for the climate; eat less meat, take less flights, buy less clothes, drive electric cars. All of these are important and necessary actions that we should take on board as much as we can, after all, we collectively create consumer demand. But we also have to keep this in context with what is going on in boardrooms and government meetings.

The decisions made by banks and pension funds should they choose to divest from unsustainable energy prospects, can have immense impacts. Likewise, the positioning that our politicians take this week at COP26 as they debate fossil fuel investment, carbon accounting regulations and support to vulnerable countries will be critical in how the world copes with climate change.

It is easy to feel that anything we do is insignificant in scale. But it isn’t, individual action matters and one of the most effective things we can do is hold our politician’s accountable and let them know what we want. One of the headline outcomes of COP26 will be if global nations can keep the goal alive of limiting warming to a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise (we are already at 1.1°C), and we let Wilkinson know that we want Canada to take on its fair share of this target. That is our contribution to this monumental goal, and that is why it is never a waste of time to visit your MP’s office in the rain.

Lorna Pelly
North Vancouver