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On Day 1 of 2019, I spent some quiet moments reflecting on what the New Year might bring. Like many of you I look forward to this year with optimism but also with trepidation. As a climate activist, my focus of course is on the climate. Many questions preoccupy me. Will global leaders continue to inch slowly forward on addressing the climate crisis? Or will the world make a giant leap ahead to solve this most critical existential challenge ever encountered by we humans?

Four Reasons For Climate Hope

What Gives Me Climate Hope For 2019, Below2C
Source: Below2C, from creative commons images

As climate change slowly begins to dominate our lives (and it will for all us sooner rather than later), we will have to make a choice between despair and hope, between remaining passive or becoming active, feeling overwhelmed or feeling energized. Because action is the best antidote to despair, I choose hope. “Action = Hope,” wrote Cathy Orlando in a blog post upon her return from the recent COP24 climate talks in Poland.

These are some of my reasons for choosing #ClimateHope:

1. Youth Rising

I’m energized by the worldwide rise of youth in the climate movement. The voice of youth resonates loudly, and with unencumbered clarity, with politicians and world leaders. Their innocence grips adults at an emotional level, in the gut and in the heart. I see the promise of their ideas, their energy and their resilience.

Youth engagement in the climate movement is being led by Greta Thunberg of Sweden. She is fighting for a better future by staging a climate strike every Friday under the banner of #FridaysForFuture.

2. Women in Politics

The recent swearing in of the 116th session of the United States Congress made history with a record number of 102 female House members and 25 female Senators. At only 29 years of age, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becomes the youngest women to sit in Congress.

More importantly, Ocasio-Cortez has a plan to tackle the climate crisis. She is championing The Green New Deal to lead the Democrats (now controlling the House) in developing a comprehensive and aggressive plan to address climate change in advance of the 2020 U.S. elections. This promises to give new life to American support for the Paris Agreement which President Trump cannot officially withdraw from until November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect.

3. Canada Is a World Leader on Carbon Pricing

In 2015,  Canada began the hard work of developing a national plan to a low carbon future that includes carbon pricing as one of its main pillars. It is called the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, is a graduate of the London School of Economics and is currently the High-Level Co-Chair to the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. This will help Canada position itself to capitalize on our share of the $26 trillion clean tech opportunities that will be available between now and 2030.

On December 12, in a Nature editorial, Canada’s carbon pricing policy was praised as a way of making carbon pricing more palatable to the taxpayer. “I can tell you first hand that the world has its eyes on Canada’s carbon pricing policy,” says Cathy Orlando, International Outreach Manager for Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Although Canada is one of the first countries in the world to adopt a national carbon pricing policy, our climate targets lack sufficient ambition to meet the emissions targets set in the Paris Agreement. Canada currently has highly insufficient climate commitments. And, we have the highest GHG footprint per capita in the G20.

4. My Grandchildren

I have four grandkids — two girls and two boys — ranging in age from 9 to 13 years old. They are aware of the importance of solving the climate crisis. The oldest is Elliott. He thinks about his future, a lot. He’s preparing to strike for climate in Ottawa on Parliament Hill on Friday, January 11, alongside thousands of students also on #ClimateStrikes and #FridaysForFuture events around the world. Youths will strike for climate in cities across Canada — Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, London, Sudbury, Victoria, Vancouver, Fredericton, Perth.

As Greta said, “We have had 30 years of pep talking….Yes, we do need hope, of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action.”

Once we start to act, hope is everywhere ~ Greta Thunberg

Related articles…
Convincing Steps And Compelling Actions On Climate
Reasons To Choose Climate Hope
The 3% Project: The Climate Mobilization of Canadian Youth

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    • Ed – Best wishes for 2019. And indeed, we are running out of time. May 2019 bring us accelerated climate action,

  1. “Man rapes mother [earth],
    there is no other….
    …..Women are the only hope,
    women are the only hope,
    if we’ve any hope…. at all”
    ~ excerpt from a song by Mendelson Joe, 2012
    Compassion, empathy, nurturing impulses are what women are generally better at, what they bring to the mix, what we need right now.

    • Andrea – I entirely agree that the role of women in confronting climate change is crucial. I love your quote from the song – so bang on.

      Thank you for your interest in Below2C.

  2. The only way it will move forward much more quickly is for EACH ONE OF US to do our part in our daily lives, in all the decisions we make and by speaking out forcefully! Our present leaders are weak but people dedicated to a better world are beginning to step forward. Yesterday I was shopping for an electric car and speaking to salespeople. Firstly, they can barely keep up with the demand. They are importing them from the US too and selling immediately. One car salesman foresees a very quick change is happening and suggests that in 10 years, cars will become obsolete because transit, etc will be used. The Chev Volt has an incredible system, so far advanced and copied by others, it blew us away!! Already young graduates are NOT buying cars!!! YAY!!

    • Hello Judi and welcome to Below2C.

      I do believe that we will reach a tipping point when the survival instinct will kick in and more and more of us will speak out forcefully to use your term. I’m working with youth right now as they prepare for a Climate Strike this very day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. They’re inspired by what Greta Thunberg from Sweden is doing. She has become a climate activist sensation.

      Thank you for your comments

  3. For me, Finnish-born Erika Spanger-Siegfried, a senior analyst in the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, has written the most beautiful, inspirational piece of prose on the climate crisis — and the meaning of hope in responding to it — that I’ve ever read. She writes:
    “… we’ve never had to fight quite like this, against an enemy that both opposes us and is us, over and over, and without clear hope of winning. … There’s no simple ‘winning’ when so much is lost. Not gone, but condemned. … each of us working to add our small piece to the whole, many of us weary of all this but cloaked in our miraculous hope, where despair can touch us but it can’t hold us for long, because we love and therefore we hope. And because this fight is far from over. It starts new each day. … The fight we signed up for is now the fight for what’s left and the people who get left with it. That’s all, really. But it’s also everything. And you, my weary friend, will never stop.”

    Source — URL Shortlink:

    • Frank – thank you for sharing this beautifully written piece. I will certainly look it up and refer to it in my writing.

      And thank you for your ongoing support for the work we do at Below2C.


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