My second to last postcard! I’m a bit sad. This project has been so huge for me, especially by taking photos. Unfortunately I got a little behind while mailing them (two weeks) which has taught me that unless something is felt with a violent urgency and accountability, it seldom gets done.
Action is on the horizon- I can feel it. My generation cares about climate change with one foot in the present, and one foot in the dismissive: “Ah- we’re going to die any way.” “Boo. Capitalism.” The challenge will be to transform irony into action.
I’m in Ottawa right now for Thanksgiving. In this photo is my aunt Paula, me, my cousin Thomas, his girlfriend Cassandra (tragically cut off) and of course postcard #51: Queer Commie with AIDS
The quote of which is: "We're here! Let's rise up! We have nothing to fear!"
I think, if we quiet our minds and listen to our hearts; I believe it to be true.
Today I rode my bike to the library and dropped three different packages of postcards off at three different mailboxes.
As well as two misc postcards that got returned to me from Mr. Cannings, because he went and changed his office address. You can't run that easily Mr. Cannings.
The two postcards below are very cool. #42 is one of my favourites. It's a fantastic coincidence that #42 is the meaning of the universe, and the subject of it's respective postcards takes a very universal point of view. I was a bit nervous approaching this man, and was prepared for a flippant answer to "Why do you care about climate change?" But instead I got something thought provoking that I hadn't been expecting.
#43 is awesome because it features a diverse family and it's full of P R I D E !
Be sure to celebrate this weekend!
#42- Earthling “Have you heard about the great filter theory? Scientists are baffled that there are no traces of intelligent alien life, even though there should be based on the vastness and properties of the universe. This is where the great filter theory comes in. If a civilization evolves towards industry and greed at a rampant pace it will destroy its planet and therefore its self, and not leave a trace in the universe. Or the civilization can grow to become apart of the planet and because of that never need to leave its home and therefore never leave a trace. What path are we going down? Humans are going towards the first road I think. “
#43- Awesome Unicorns
“It won’t affect me, in twenty years I’ll be gone. I have them to worry about.”
“You should have seen the drawing my kid did for me. It’s in my office. Its this beautiful ocean with trees and it has oil running through it.”
“Because we’re unicorns!”
...Is do not procrastinate. Or maybe better put, stay on top of things. I've been behind three weeks on postcards and as a result I spent a good 90 minutes from 10pm-12pm putting stamps on 86 postcards. Each postcard gets 3 stamps- that's 258 stamps...around 3 stamps a minute. Here's what the edges of 258 stamps worth of stamp sheets look like:
It wasn't all that bad. I had a relaxing evening of listening to a podcast called "The Adventure Zone" and achieving my goals.
I've sent 3 surveys out so far, to Mr. Arnold, Mr. Aldag, and Mr. Albas. No response. But! I've only sent three surveys. I'll send some more tonight, and then I rest!
Today I'm stamping #40. A little bit behind schedule unfortunately.
"People don't really grasp it. We were talking about this the other day. Some guy went to Mexico, saw the pollution and announced that his restaurant was no longer selling straws. He’s being praised as a hero! I mean that’s great and all but this should just be the norm.”
(Canadians use 57 million single-use straws each day. Each one will take 500 years to compose. Luckily several restaurants and private companies have banished the suckers for good.) Source: https://bit.ly/2pY4EC4 https://ind.pn/2Ov48dv
That's a lovely sunny scene is it not? I think that was before the smoke came. It must've been around this time last year. I'm always on the edge of my seat wondering when the haze from forest fires eastwards are going to drift in our direction. Every time it rains I'm happy. I cross my fingers that it buys the forest just a bit more time.
<<NON POST CARD RELATED RANT: >>
I've been thinking a bit about what's better: To act spontaneously and live freely, or to plan and be rational.
Like today for example, I was downtown with my brother and on a whim I pulled him into Mintage which is THE COOLEST STORE IN VANCOUVER. Seriously, check it out.
Pros: We found THE COOLEST STORE IN VANCOUVER.
Cons: We were 15 min late for dinner with my grandmother, as a result I missed my tap dance class, as a double result I was stressed.
I used to be of the mindset that being spontaneous and living on the edge, taking on too much, was the way to go.
A lot of cool things happened because I followed the shiniest thing in the corner. Like I auditioned for a talent show and because of that I met a guy who had be open for Shane Koyzcan, or I managed to get on the Vancouver Slam Poetry team and travel around the world.
But during the last several months- I've taken a different approach. I've kept the blinders on, avoided the shiny and new and turned down several opportunities to compete at a high level of Slam Poetry. Why?
One reason: My documentary. I've pledged to myself that I want to prioritize this kicking and screaming creation and thus other opportunities must be held to sacrifice. But! Where is the documentary now? Still breathing, but comatose. Holding it's pasty blue chest- heaving and ho-ing. Unable to open it's eyes. To stand up.
Do I regret not doing at least one of those events I turned down? Kind of. I wouldn't if I had actually taught this documentary how to walk instead of just poking it with a stick now and again.
Now I have a similar problem. I wanted to go away to the Unist'ot'en camp for ten days this summer. I wanted to learn from indigenous peoples, work on efforts to decolonize and protect their territory. BUT the Fr3@K1N' D0CUM3NT@RY!!!! omg! Also other things too... like preparing for university and cleaning out my room, and working a little bit, and looking after the dogs.
I worry: Am I behing lame?
When I think about the life I want to look back on when I'm about to bid "aideu" to this plane of reality, it's filled with spontaneous adventures and fun, and living! Living in the wilderness of yonder!
Am I listening to my parents too much?
If I don't go... am I living in fear of never getting something done?
But if I do go...am I just living in fear of the life I fear?
There's no real way to win this one. I just have to do what I want to do. Fudge.
I was going to say that I'm not going because I love this documentary and when you love something and you feel responsible for it you make sacrifices.
I made sacrifices before and they were in vain because I didn't even know what it was like to make sacrifices. I didn't know it wasn't enough to just make sacrifices, you also have to make them worthwhile.
Hmmm. Maybe there's a way to work this out.
<<NON POSTCARD RELATED RANT ENDS>>
Anyways. I'm also sending this little doo hickey:
It's summer, and that means that all the MP's return to their home provinces. That also means that preparing the postcards takes 4x as long as usual, because aside from printing out the necessary labels and sticking them on, I have to make sure each postcard has correct postage SINCE it's free to mail MP's at the House of Commons, but if you want to reach them pro bono at their constituency you're out of luck.
Each postcard requires 2-3 stamps depending on the amount listed on the stamp (5¢, 10¢, 40¢, 45¢, 90¢, etc.) I was fortunate to have all these stamps donated- they're old stamps, which means I get to enjoy retro design, but it also means I have to wet them before I stick them on. I'm happy to report the days of stamp licking are behind me. I have discovered the power of a damp rag in a bowl.
Needless to say, this all takes a long time. So I was able to kick back, relax, and enjoy watching an episode and a half of Stranger Things. When I experience great stories, it lights up my heart and reminds me of what I really want to do in this world. If I can spend my life writing and telling stories, I can die happy, knowing I did exactly what I wanted to do and that I lived for myself.
I guess that's pretty western/individualist of me to say, but I really do believe that pursuing my passion is also kind of a selfless thing too because it has this element of spirituality. When I'm doing what I love- I feel close to the universe and God and everything. It's like when you're walking in a beautiful garden on a warm spring day, or a purple butterfly lands on your finger and all that jazz.
I've been reading just a little on meditation and spirituality and have garnered that we shouldn't be ashamed of pursuing self-transcendence and growth- that each individual awakening contributes to the revival of the world.
Of course, I'm not saying I'm going to write a screenplay and wake up enlightened. Maybe I'll become disillusioned with it all. I hope not. But this love of storytelling is like a marriage I was born with: I love this thing more than anything else in the world, and it makes me feel like nothing else in the world. Even though there are rough patches where I just want to tilt my head back, shake my hands, and shout: "WHY?!" I'm willing to work on the relationship because it's that important to me.
I guess I can start by giving my better half the attention they deserve.
The subject of today's photo is also a passion pursuer. My conversation with him thoroughly freaked me out- but because he's an artist I want to believe he hasn't lost all hope.
”I’m a science major. So I know about this stuff. 2025, that’s the year we’re supposed to be done with fossil fuels. 2040, that’s the year all the oceans of the world collapse unless people stop acting like they’re acting. I’m a doom and gloom guy myself, I think humans are well on their way to extinction by the end of the century, of course you can’t say that to people.”
Hey everyone. It's almost Canada day. I'm happy to see that Mr. Trudeau has declared a climate emergency, not so happy that the pipeline has been approved.
In terms of postcards I had a major whoopsie. It turns out I've been neglected one MP the entire time! M.P Jagmeet Singh which is pretty terrible considering he's the leader of the NDP.
Maybe that's why he wasn't present in the house when Trudeau declared a climate emergency.
Anyways- now the issue is rectified and I'm including all BC MP's in my mailing list.
Some other cool stuff happened Jonathan Wilkinson, the liberal fisheries minister bringing forward a motion to ban the most harmful single use plastics by 2021.
I wonder how much of this is motivated by the upcoming election and if my wee little postcard project contributed at all.
Happy late Indigenous People's Day by the way! (June 21st)
Here's a photo of me and my brother.
#37 "Well I care for my children of course."
#36 Nuu Chah Nulth Sto:lo: “I feel like it’s kind of woven into my DNA. My mother always told me how we live on unceded land, so I feel like it belongs to me. So it kind of bugs me when the land is used for dirty projects without actually consulting an indigenous person. They consult chiefs and councils which are a colonial construct. We didn’t have that before colonialism, so it feels like they’re talking to themselves.”
Now it's time for everyone's favourite self-analyzing activist game: "What's Emily's Role in Environmentalism?"
Sometimes, when I go to your average environmental meeting run by your average environmental group filled with planning and passion, I get this sense of nausea. I don't know why. After all, here's a group of people that care about precisely what I care about.
Could my discomfort be because I like bold and hilarious action, while these folks prefer planning and pacing? We need both types of people, don't we?
Could it be because I'm suddenly overwhelmed by the groups' emotion, and the predicament humanity is in?
Something I've been recently learning is that often the most straightforward answer is the correct one. Especially when it comes to decisions based on emotions opposed to facts.
For example, yesterday I got my wisdom teeth taken out. I was feeling pretty darn good and thought that I could handle going to an improv class today. But when I woke up this morning though and felt like I just been punched in the face, I wasn't so sure.
A simple voice inside of me said: "Just stay home."
While another, more complex voice build up on all sorts of nuanced adult insecurities said: "You can handle improv. You might regret not going. There's, like, $239 down the drain!"
Luckily, I had the courage and awareness to listen to the first voice and stay home. I feel a little bored and frustrated having nothing to do but roll around with my emotions all day, but it's better than being overwhelmed by going to a class I'm not mentally or physically prepared for.
I'm proposing that the correct answer to our most profound emotional queries is the one most similar to the innate drive for hunger, or thirst, or sleep.
It's not like we have a voice inside ourselves that goes: "Oh man. If you don't eat right now, you're totally going to regret it. Everyone else is eating, why aren't you?"
"You should drink some water. Who cares if you don't feel like it now, drinking water is good for you. That magazine said so. If you don't drink water, you're totally gonna be behind on the water drinking train and wonder why you didn't get on board for the rest of your days."
"Wow. You suck at sleep. Didn't you read about that sleep Olympian who sleeps 9 hours every night, from 10pm-7am, exactly? They're being nominated for the sleep Nobel prize. That could be you, you really need to get on top of that and produce the best sleep of your life."
No. We just go: "I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I'm tired."
So when it comes to my qualms about specific venues of environmental activism, I shouldn't over analyze or doubt my reaction. Keep it simple.
"I don't like that." "This group is draining." "I'd prefer to work on my own."
There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with me. That's just what I've been gifted with and how I was made.
I'm working on a documentary right now about the British Properties in West Vancouver, and when I'm researching it, I'm overcome by a sense of calm and purpose.
The ancient Greeks believed that creativity was inspired by The Muses. The Muses would come to an artist and strike them with an idea. The artist can use it, or not, but you don't get to choose your muse.
I feel the same way with how I create writing, plays, and art. I don't get to choose. The pressure I put on myself to make something "great" kills any creative spirit I've got. I've just got to be there. My heart and mind wide open. Sometimes something will come to me like this documentary. When I'm working on it, it feels like God is reaching through my eyes and arms and making something through me. It's a neat feeling. It takes the pressure off.
Instead of trying to build a sculpture from scratch painstakingly, It feels like I'm picking away at a rock to reveal a jewel underneath.
"Oh. I get it now."
"This is such a perfect metaphor!"
"Wow. This really speaks to me."
That's why it feels spiritual. Like God has to lead me to a spot on the land, and I just need to keep digging until a geyser pops out. It was already there, the spiritual forces/muses/God just needed a human to bring it out.
I think this is a good thing to keep in mind when I go to Vargas island later this May. I was recruited to get a remote field station off of Tofino and create art. What kind of art- I'm not sure. It's up to me. I've been worried about it, trying to think of something that will be "good" or "right," but I end up with the same nauseous feeling I get with some environmental groups. Like I'm trying to force it. Maybe I don't need to go into it with any specific plan. I can trust I'm just there for a reason. Go into it with heart and arms wide open, and see what strikes me.
Anyways, here are the photos from the last two weeks:
“The reason we care is just for this: the future generations. It’s terrible: the drought, fire, lack of food. I’d like to see a strong reduction in emissions.”
Fact: According to the Pembina Institute, Canada’s average total emissions was only one megaton a year for the last five years. At this pace, we won’t achieve the Paris Agreement target for 2030 until 2209. We’re headed in the right direction, just at the at the wrong rate.*
"Why do I care? Well, I guess I don't want us to die in 50 years. This is an issue that doesn't have too much funding, but Canada is doing alright I guess.
Fact: CAT, Climate Action Tracker, is an independent research body which ranks countries based their progress towards keeping the world's warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Canada’s current rating is: “Highly insufficient.”*
Happy Earth Day everyone!
I'm sort of stressed right now. I can feel the nodes in my neck and the tension in my head. I'm stressed mainly because there's a lot of noise in the house right now. Vacuum cleaners, people talking, water running. I'm also stressed because I'm putting off writing some comedy.
I have long term built up anxiety blockades about comedy writing that I need to topple. Which I'm doing. Because I'm taking a weekly comedy writing class.
Anyway enough about me, more about us! Specifically: the earth.
We're all apart of the earth. We are the earth. Which isn't often recognized. I think we see the planet like a Minecraft landscape.
In Minecraft each block is a resource you can destroy and rebuild to whatever you desire.
The world is expansive, and aside from the occasional animal or beast it's yours alone for the taking.
I'm just saying we should see the earth more like this:
Something more flowy, interconnected and nuanced. But even the big anthropomorphic hot chick is sort of narcissistic. Why should a human be the focal point of all cosmic creation? We're a tiny part of big circle. So maybe a better view of the world would be this:
There we are. Apart of everything. And isn't that what the natural laws of life point to? We procreate. We dissolve, back into the earth from which we came.
No one ever stood at the highest building in wall street, overwhelmed with family neglecting, car buying, and steak consuming and said: "Hey. I feel so connected and whole right now."
But maybe someone has done that. That would be a great movie: A suit who actually finds a spiritual enlightenment in all the things we associate with corruption.
But- for the sake of sustainable living lets argue that the ideas of circle and flow, and being a small piece of something bigger is more conducive to a total planetary wellbeing.
This is why I like old Italian Cities. I've been to Italy, I'll have you know, and I throughly enjoyed getting lost in the winding and sloping cobbled streets inside stone city walls.
Everything is curved!
Here's another city I've really enjoyed being in: Amsterdam.
Notice anything vaguely... circular about it?
This is Palmanova. A literal circle/star town in Italy.
By contrast here's the layout for Vancouver:
Why so many squares Vancouver?
I see a total of 1 circle in Toronto.
,I asked my family for a random U.S city. I took my dad's suggestion of Chicago. I was not disappointed by the squares.
Look, all I'm saying is how depressing is a strip mall? A row of perfectly square dead looking stores?
Gray on gray. Concrete on concrete.
In order to reconcile our relationship with nature we must reintegrate within nature.
I'm kind of hungry. I'm still kind of stressed and I propose we design our homes, cities, and every aspects of our lives to mimic the patterns we see in nature.
That's a whole lot of circles.
Take that Minecraft.
Here's a photo of my mum and I after preparing two postcards.
Have a great Earth Day!
#28 “This isn’t the Vancouver I remember. It used to be warm with longer summers. Now it’s unpredictable. Art can make a difference especially if it’s interactive. It can spread awareness through photos or videos. That alone is more powerful than words.”
#27 “It’s going to get to a point when we realize we can’t eat money. That’s the thing about places some people call “Third World Countries”, they just have a different way of living that’s closer to the earth. That’s why I want to get out of here and go back to Egypt. My relatives have an organic farm there, where I’d like to go work and just live.”
#24 (A very long post about west jet elitism, my university audition experience, and a dash and a half around parliament hill)
Why Fly? Wifi.
March 21st, 2019
Currently, I’m on a West Jet flight heading back to Vancouver after a week-long journey through Montreal and Ottawa.
Before I expand anymore, I’d just like to say West Jet, you elitist dorks! Having some premium seating with more snacks is irritating enough (I’d prefer unlimited roasted almonds for all) but I'll accept it. But as soon as you charge me $10.99 for 90 minutes of wifi, we have a problem.
How am I suppose to watch "A Star Is Born" if I can't bring myself to purchase your overpriced wifi to download the free WestJet app?!
I guess I could just plan ahead and download the app somewhere where the wifi is free. I’ll just say that this “must-buy-wifi-to-download-app-to-access-free-app” is a rather convenient corner for you to have me in.
Furthermore, Wifi is the language of the people! You can’t capitalize wifi. Free wifi for all! I’ve been against the idea of public wifi in parks because I think people should spend time connected to nature, not the internet, but I can see how the concept of freedom for all public wifi is actually a very egalitarian initiative.
Okay, anyways back on to my trip and postcards and things.
Auditioning for Concordia
I went to Montreal to audition for the Performance Creation program at Concordia. It’s a program which combines acting, directing and writing to empower young creators. It’s a unique program in Canada, and so that’s why I decided it was worth it to purchase a plane ticket and fly out for an audition instead of submitting a video audition online. I wanted to make a good first impression. It’s also nice to get away. You know what I’m talking about.
Anyways, on the Concordia website is says if I want to take additional acting classes in Performance Creation, I have to do an audition for the Acting for Theatre program too.
So here I am, about to audition for Theatre. But there’s confusion. I'm the only one In the warm-up room who doesn’t have Acting for Theatre as a choice in my application. Apparently, Performance Creation applicants having to audition for acting classes is no longer in practice.
“But Emily is going to the audition right now.” Says the assistant teacher, and the jolly acting coach’s warm voice suddenly becomes rough and defensive when he says “Yes, and I’m not sure why.”
I’m hurt. It’s not my fault the website isn’t clear. “Well,” says the assistant “an audition process is a good experience no matter what.”
She was right. I loved the acting audition! All the strange warm-ups they made us do, the atmosphere of the attentive teachers, getting into character, and killing my monologue.
So, when they told me I needn’t worry about callbacks since I was just auditioning for classes, I knew something needed to change. I wanted to have a chance to do all that fun acting stuff again the next day, and even change my choices for programs.
I explained my predicament to a student leader, who explained it to an authority figure, who explained it to the theatre department.
I waited with bated breathe just outside the elevators, glancing down the hallway, till the supervisor tossed the calming words of confirmation my way: “You’re still in the running.”
I switched my course preferences, so Acting for Theatre was second under Performance Creation. I also got a callback.
The callback was even better than the audition. It was all day from 9am to 2pm. We did scenes, created sketches, re-did our monologues intentionally terribly. I also got a chance to freestyle rap. It was amazing. I felt like I was being trained not just as a tool for someone’s monotonous production but that I was being pushed to be the best performer I can be. Which really, what my life is all about.
I felt so exhilarated when I left the studio. It was a quiet exhilaration, like a when you pull the string hard on a motor or pump really fast on a salad spinner, and then the engine catches, and it goes around and around without you having to do anything. The ferocious roar of the preliminary pulls is replaced with a steady whirring of a thing in motion.
I started thinking about how to insert more nature into the urban environment. I wanted to write, and make things. I felt calm and energized all at once. And when I think back to the studio, the cool light shining through windows, the wood under my feet and the teachers who seemed to care about my wellbeing and development, I can’t wait to do it again.
So I’ve changed my preferences. Acting for Theatre first and Performance Creation second. Either way, I’ve been assured, I’ll be able to pursue writing and directing.
So we’ll see.
ANYWAYS! Onto postcards.
What You're Here For
After the callback, I left immediately for Ottawa. If you can, take the Greyhound instead of the train. It’s a better price for the journey. However, traveling backward moving train was a unique and somewhat peaceful experience.
I went to Ottawa to visit with my family and my sister, but also to deliver as many postcards as possible to MP’s and talk about climate change.
I sent 11 emails to 10 different MP’s and one Justin Trudeau. I heard back from 5 of them and after all was scheduling and rescheduling was said and done, ended up meeting with three of them.
I’ve got to say, I felt pretty darn cool getting my snazzy “Confederation Building Visitor name tag.” I also felt pretty darn nervous as well. Like if I was caught poking around anywhere I shouldn’t be I’d be removed. My name tag even had the room number of the MP I was visiting, Richard Cannings.
(Me in a really cool elevator with a really cool name tag looking really cool.)
I made the observation that the security at the front of the confederation building is probably the nicest security ever. They’re constantly smiling and eager to answer questions. Like there’s a switch in their back that’s flipped to “Make feel at ease.” I think there are a few options for why that is. Maybe I just visited on a specific day where the stars were aligned so that all the really lovely security guards were there. Perhaps one of them is really nice, and their mannerisms have rubbed off on their colleagues. Maybe they’re paid really well. The first idea that came to my mind was that they’ve learned to be so nice because every visitor to the confederation building is extremely nervous because they’re meeting a fancy member of Parliament.
Eventually, I headed up to floor three and made my way to Mr. Cannings office where his assistants greeted me and took my coat. Mr. Cannings was running a bit late, so I made myself comfortable sitting at a wooden table and watching the live proceedings of Justin Trudeau getting roasted by a Conservative guy on the TV across from me.
Then Mr. Cannings came in, he seemed a little tired but nevertheless sat very patiently with me as I explained the project. In exchange, he told me how the carbon tax works and the cap and trade system very clearly. I understand it now, yay! I left, and then realized I forgot to take a photo, so I went back to grab one.
EsNext up was Ms. Pam Goldsmith-Jones. My local MP and all around good person. I read on an email I received from her assistant that I was to meet her at parliament, so I began to run up towards the stone buildings dialing her office on the way to apologize for being late. Her assistant, a young man Morgan, told me that the meeting was still at the confirmation building, so I ran (downhill this time) all the way back and had to go through security AGAIN.
At long last, Morgan escorted me, and I arrived at Pam Goldsmith-Jones’s office which smells fantastic. I don't know what it is. Perfume, fragrant air freshener, or a righteous battle against fish farms.
Our meeting was short, but it was delightful. Especially because she had the postcards fanned out to greet me. Oh, and she said she’d give my deliver the postcard for Justin Trudeau.
One thing I asked all the MP’s I met was “What’s holding Canada back when it comes to taking necessary action on climate change?”
When I look back on the answers I received, I can’t remember anything clearly from the first two MP’s I met. Which is understandable. Cannings was sick, and Goldsmith-Jones was rushed. All I can recall is a hazed blur of money, Alberta, and change; nothing that seemed to give me the clear answer I was looking for.
I was to meet Nathan Cullen in the Left Wing of Parliament. I marched out of the confederation building and up towards Parliament Hill. I saw some people going through a door, so I followed but was quickly turned away by security. I had to go through another checkpoint and get another pass. Which I did. At this point, I was dubious Nathan Cullen would still be there. I then traversed the underground tunnels of parliament which are a fantastic experience. It’s like a really classy bomb shelter. Coat check included.
With the help of more friendly security guards I found the elevator that leads me to the Left Wing. I was standing outside the House of Commons. Big wooden doors were blocking the way in. Security personnel and media were waiting outside as portraits of prime ministers past (a bunch of noble looking white dudes) looked onwards.
I had to fill out a slip of paper requesting a visit with Mr. Cullen and then gave it to a young female attendant who slipped inside the wooden doors. Behind them, I saw more doors and windows that glanced into the house. After a few minutes, a man came out. I shook his hand assuming he was Mr. Cullen. He explained that he was a member of the party and wanted to know what I wanted to talk to Mr. Cullen about.
Um. I have a postcard.
He went back inside. A few more minutes later the real-life Nathan Cullen emerged. He listened carefully to what I had to say and asked questions. He told me he was there when the Paris climate agreement was fashioned, but when he asked what Canada’s plan was actually to meet the targets, there was none.
This struck me. I’ve heard over and over again that to tackle climate change humanity will “require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” That quote is straight from the UN ladies and gentlemen. The keyword here is “unprecedented.” If we’re not noticing the change daily, it’s not happening fast enough. Which makes me wonder, what plan does Canada have to meet these targets?
The following are a few tidbits we agreed to that I’ve pulled from a summary by the Globe and Mail.
1. Canada has pledged to, by 2030, cut its emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels.
2. The federal government will now have to develop a climate strategy with the provinces while also moving on a North American plan.
3. Countries are urged to save their remaining intact forests and leave fossil fuels in the ground.
From the skimming of articles I’ve done, it seems that Canada is kind of working on a plan for the country and has reached out to Mexico and the U.S. Yet everything seems wishy-washy. We know the general idea of where we’re going, but I’d personally like to see a report that says: You want to cut emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030? Okay- here’s exactly what that would look like- here’s the taxes that would need to be in place and the renewable energy that would need to be created. Here’s the forest’s that would need to be planted and the exact number of electric vehicles that would need to be produced. Color by numbers to save humanity. A step by step recipe for success.
I could be wrong, I’ve just been skimming, but it seems that right now Canada’s just throwing a couple eggs into a bowl (a price on carbon) and hoping a cake comes out of it.
By the way, Canada’s policies are still leading to 4-degree warming. Read all about it here: https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/canada/
Mr. Cullen also recommended I do research on what made other movements work in the past. Besides just protesting. What was the grunt work behind it all? What connections and strategies did people use to make changes?
He brought up the example of lobbying, which he told me is a term which came from the practice of African Americans waiting in lobbies of hotels to try to persuade visiting Politicians to adopt a progressive policy.
He encouraged me to reach out to other young people when I go to university. I know for a fact, change cannot be made alone.
Overall, it was a thought-provoking and empowering meeting. I forgot to take a photo though. So I drew an artistic impression instead.
Looking forward, I want to keep writing and exploring what Canada is doing to combat climate change and what’s keeping us from genuinely leaping into a carbon neutral world. I’d like to visit Alberta and talk to the people that are pro-oil sands and that have been affected by a loss of jobs. Having a privileged upbringing, I don’t really understand what it’s like to be out of a job, or how an entire community can be rooted in one industry. I’d also like to create a sort of hit list with all the MP’s I’m sending postcards to, so I can keep track of everyone I’ve met with and everyone I’ve heard back from (three people so far).
I’ll keep posting and researching. You keep breathing and eating. I’ll write to you soon!
“Ever since I had kids I’ve cared a lot more too. I think the government plays a lot on fears, especially economic. Like, if we don’t build a pipeline we’ll lose this many jobs. But that’s short term. That’s why I wrote citizen instead of what I do for work. In the economy my job might matter, but as a parent and as a citizen I’m willing to make that sacrifice.”
Hey there! Long time no post. I've been hard at work rallying support for the B-Line in West Vancouver. Changing people's minds and hearts is hard work; so it was a relief to find my first response in the mailbox.
Huzzah! Shout out to Pam Goldsmith-Jones. The only thing I find slightly curious about this response is that she writes "your postcard" as in singular. Of course, I'm not overly surprised to read that she hasn't been overwhelmed by the frequency of correspondence.
Recently I walked into Jonathan Wilkinson's office and introduced myself as the one sending the postcards. The secretary told me she doesn't put the postcards on his desk, but must make note that the office received them. She, however, seemed very impressed with my initiative. I asked her if possible, to show them to Wilkinson. She said she would try to put something together. So I can say I'm at least impacting the secretaries and office workers of MP's, which is something.
I'm heading to Ottawa at the end of March to try and deliver postcard #23, in person, to the Members of Parliament and JT himself. That will be a very interesting excursion, indeed.
Till then- I send Pam Goldsmith Jones thanks on Postcard #20!
(It has one of my favourite photos.)