We must vote for action on climate change in next federal election

I’m astonished that Conservatives are now leading in the polls.

We must vote for action on climate change in next federal election

The federal government recently released their new climate report titled Canada’s Changing Climate, and it carries some stark warnings about Canada’s possible future if we do not immediately correct our course on climate.

In fact, according to this report Canada’s overall temperature has risen 1.7 C since 1948, while northern Canada warmed by 2.3 C. While this may not seem significant, I would ask all those reading this to take time and remember what their local ecosystem looked like when they were a kid, and compare to what they see around them today. Climate change has already affected us, from the lake levels we’re seeing now, to the increase in forest fire activity in our great province, and in the absence of snowpack in our mountains to sustain our communities fresh water resources.

Yet, if this report is to be taken seriously, as it should be, then the future this report paints should terrify us all. It lays out that these temperature increases, caused by both human and and natural activities, are primarily caused by human activity, stating that “the human factor is dominant”. The report also lays out, that in a high emission scenario, we could see record highs in daily temperatures every two years as opposed to every 20, and “extreme hot temperatures will become more frequent and more intense.” This will lead to increased risk of drought, wildfires, and inland flooding.

Furthermore, this change in temperatures will also affect our pristine environment. Even under a medium emission scenario the report reads that, “glaciers across the mountains of western Canada will lose 74 per cent to 96 per cent of their volume by the late century.”

However, despite all of this negative news there is some positive to go along with it. This report details that, in a low emission scenario, most of the catastrophic events that I just layed out can be mitigated, but our emissions outputs must peak immediately. With a federal election coming this fall it is possible to put a party in power that is willing to fight for a bold, progressive plan for fighting this generational crisis. Which is why I’m astonished that Conservatives are now leading in the polls. A party who hasn’t even had the common courtesy to placate concerns around climate change, and has yet to release a climate change plan. The main reason for this is that climate change is a generational issue. The simple fact is that the most conservative voting group in our country is also the oldest. For many of those in this group, they will not have to face the effects of climate change that those in our youngest generations will. This makes climate change less of a priority for them. And, I want to take a second to say I’m not trying to insult anyone, and I do understand the rationale of some of these older voters.

However, the future belongs to the young in this country, and we are terrified of the possibilities that may face us. That is why young people, yes I’m talking to you millennials and gen z’ers, now is our time to shine. We need to be forceful in our support for politicians who actually take this problem seriously, and swift in our condemnation of those who don’t. We need to make our voices heard this time around. We must refuse to be silenced. And above all else, we need to tell all of our politicians in Canada that climate change matters to us, and we will no longer settle for good enough, but rather strive for the best. In 2019, we need to stand up and scream that our future is our say.

Matt Kercher

Lake Cowichan

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