10 urgent actions needed for the 2021 Canadian Election
Written By: Alex Johnson, JGI Canada
Category: From The Field
This election, stand with us, stand with the environment.
Urgent, science-based leadership on the following ten actions is needed if we have a chance – and we believe we do – at a carbon-neutral and nature-positive future for ourselves and our descendants. Push all the party leaders and candidates in your area to agree to action on the following:
1. Fulfil Canada’s commitments to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to protect and conserve 30% of our terrestrial and marine areas by 2030 (a.k.a. “30X30”), and our commitments made in the Paris Accord. Currently only 13.1% of Canada’s land is protected, and we failed to reach most of our biodiversity targets for 2011-2020. We need to do better.
2. Acknowledge that Indigenous philosophies and knowledge often lead to better outcomes for biodiversity in lands they manage by meaningfully including them in the designing of solutions. Recognize the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and count them towards Canada’s 30X30 goal.
3. Pass Bill S-128, the “Jane Goodall Act”, which would ban all new captivity of great apes and elephants, ban the use of great apes, elephants, and cetaceans in performances, and grant legal standing to great apes, elephants, whales, and dolphins. Strengthen Canada’s action to reduce international illegal wildlife trade. Send a letter to your MP here.
4. To “build back better” after COVID-19, recognize that all jobs are “green jobs”. Most job functions are very traditionally defined, in context of an economic system that wasn’t designed to value nature. We all must consider the 3 crises so that we do our part to reduce cumulative impacts.
5. Accept that our economic and financial systems have contributed heavily to these three crises, and as such, should be part of the solutions. Accelerate our financial services sector’s integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their lending/financing practices. Ensure that biodiversity finance converges with climate finance.
6. Seriously consider how we can effectively reduce “burden-shifting”, where environmental impacts are (a) caused by more privileged members of society but borne by more vulnerable groups, (b) incurred in other countries to provide products to Canada and (c) caused by current generations but affecting future ones.
7. Set a national standard for environmental education for students from kindergarten to university to ensure future leadership.
8. Strengthen Canada’s Species At Risk plans and enforce action from those who are putting the species at risk.
9. Take action on environmental inequity to address the imbalance in environmental impacts endured by vulnerable communities.
10. Make businesses pay for their environmental impacts, especially those contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss. Putting a price on carbon, at a meaningful level, is an example of this. But more is needed to ensure businesses don’t walk away from areas they have degraded and polluted.