April 18, 2020
Photo: Francis Vachon Archives The Duty
Last year, in the framework of Earth Day, thousands of demonstrators had gathered in front of the national Assembly of Quebec to ask the government to adopt concrete measures to fight against climate change.
This text is part of the special Earth Day
On April 22, is, for the past 50 years, the Earth Day. Given the cancellation of outdoor activities, such as the Day of the transit, we are encouraged this year to mark the event by taking small steps to do at home. Because it is more important than ever to celebrate the Earth in these times of pandemic.
“We see a link between the health crisis and the climate : they both are collective problems “, stresses Isabelle St-Germain, senior director, development and engagement, Oxfam-Québec. “It is in a climate of crisis that we realize that we are all related, and the impact of our actions “, said also Édith Cochrane, spokesman for the Earth Day, at the launch of the campaign through video-conferencing.
Even if the rallying effect of the Earth Day is an important component of the event, the organizers wish to touch people in them this year. “Despite the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we had not planned to large gatherings. We want to celebrate small-scale, highlighting the role of local governments and the importance of local action, ” says Pierre Lussier, director of the Earth Day. The year 2020 was also special, since the organization of Earth Day, exclusively for quebec, is now pan-canadian and merging with Earth Day Canada.
“While we are confined, this is the ideal opportunity to re-examine our habits and not pick up where it was,” says Edith Cochrane. Leaving the side a little more abrasive to the campaigns of the previous years, Earth Day 2020 is meant to bring people together. It invites citizens to send in videos of 20 seconds to speak about their commitment. A compilation of these videos will be broadcast on April 22, during a virtual event.
“We can take the opportunity to do things that one never has the time to do it,” suggested the spokesperson. Organizing for a living zero waste, find recipes vegetarian to reduce its consumption of meat, grow crops, unsubscribe from any newsletters that are useless ; in short, prepare to resume a different life. “We must take the opportunity to reinvent the economy in a sustainable way after the pandemic,” adds Pierre Lussier.
The campaign 2020 Earth Day is also a great place to cities and boroughs, which will play an important role in the transition climate. “He must seize this opportunity to ask questions,” said Valérie Plant at the launch. Rosemont, for example, currently has a vision of a neighborhood where all the essential services would be accessible within a radius of 500 metres, illustrates Pierre Lussier. A reality that resonates particularly in this context of crisis in which local businesses will need our support.
Beyond these local interventions, Oxfam calls for a wider reflection. “The public health crisis reminds us that the balance is delicate “, also stressed at the launch, Thomas Mulcair, former leader of the New democratic Party and him as spokesman for the Earth Day. “Inequities are laid bare by this crisis,” said Ms. St-Gelais, of Oxfam-Québec. As in the climate crisis, we find that the poorest and most vulnerable suffer most severely the effects of the pandemic.
Oxfam request and the establishment of an ambitious global plan for public health. The organization wishes that the recovery of the economy is done with the project to help the most vulnerable adapt to climate change and the establishment of a social safety net. “This is an opportunity to organize together,” said Ms. St-Gelais.
The solutions are often known, but these should be implemented more strongly : to internalize the environmental costs in order to promote agricultural practices and more environmentally friendly transport, increase the taxes and the taxes of the richest,cancel the debt of the poorest countries, limiting the wage gap between executives and employees, to achieve parity between men and women, taxing of luxury goods and the fight against tax evasion.
“It is important that governments invest in the economy, but with conditions to reduce GHG emissions, unlike what happened during the banking crisis of 2008 “, believes the director. “The COVID-19 is almost a rehearsal to see how we can develop a plan of adaptation to climate change,” she continued.
Despite the context, the organizers of Earth Day are still optimistic. “I believe that we are heading towards a new era. I am optimistic and I am confident that something good will come out of this crisis “, says Thomas Mulcair.