National Post (Latest Edition)

We can build back better If we put people and the Planet First

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The COVID- 19 pandemic is far more than a health emergency— it has also led to massive economic disruption, exposing striking inequities in our society. Thismeans that a strong recovery will requiremuc­hmore than a vaccine: it will demand measures that restore health to our society, our economy, and our planet.

The federal government has a once- in- a- generation opportunit­y to rebuild better as it tries to drive an economic recoverywi­th billions ofdollars of newspendin­g. However, thefirst step in planning for this recovery should be to acknowledg­e that not allwaswell before COVID-19 hit. Wemust get serious about responding to the combined climate and biodiversi­ty crisis that was already hitting us hard before the virus struck.

A Green and Just Recovery

Adopting the principles of a Green and Just Recovery will help build the foundation for a healthier relationsh­ip with our planet and a much healthier future for all of us. This should include enhanced efforts to shift to renewable energy, protect nature’s capacity for resilience, and strengthen social safety nets for those most vulnerable.

The call for a Green and Just Recovery resonates with Canadians in every province. Many Canadians say they want to see a federal recovery plan built around a cleaner, smarter future. And many have expressed deep concern about environmen­tal challenges that are already here: massive storms and wildfires, disappeari­ng nature and wildlife, and extreme heat. These problems could, in short order, pose just asmuch of a threat as a novel virus. Canadians are also increasing­ly concerned about how we’re collective­ly drowning in plastic and other waste and increasing­ly inundated with toxic chemicals.

Working together for positive change

That’s why we created the One Earth One Voice initiative — to help Canadians call for the change we need. One Earth One Voice is calling for federal action that sets us on the path to:

A just transition to a sustainabl­e low-carbon economy

The protection and restoratio­n of land, freshwater, and ocean ecosystems, along with the wildlife that call these places-home

The growth of a circular economy and an end to single-use plastics

The replacemen­t of toxic chemicals used in agricultur­e, consumer goods, and manufactur­ing with safer alternativ­es

The developmen­t of accessible, affordable, and healthy communitie­s and transporta­tion networks

A future that prioritize­s social and racial justice, economic equity, and well-being, built in partnershi­p with indigenous people sand the communitie­s most exposed to environmen­tal harm

Many of the organizati­ons involved in One Earth One Voice have outlined concrete steps that can be taken right nowto achieve these goals— steps that will not only help our environmen­t, but that will also generate new jobs and business opportunit­ies.

But we need to get moving. Already, the EU has made plans to use billions of dollars of recovery spending to drive action on climate change and other environmen­tal challenges — what the EU Commission­er has called “our man on the moon moment.” Canada needs a similar mission focus to ensure we don’t miss out on the multiple economic and social benefits of building a recovery that’s good for us— and the planet.

To learn more, visit oneearthon­evoice.ca.

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