Fast­ing to share con­cern over en­vi­ron­ment

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION - Kathryn Scott Swift Cur­rent

To the ed­i­tor: I am fast­ing for the first time in my life. I’ve thought about it be­fore for spir­i­tual rea­sons, with a vague feel­ing that deny­ing my phys­i­cal self would help me fo­cus on the needs of my in­ner self. I never have fol­lowed through with it un­til now, and what has pushed me past the hes­i­ta­tion was to tan­gi­bly show my com­mit­ment to a cause that is of great ur­gency.

I had pledged to take ac­tion for cli­mate lead­er­ship and part of my pledge was to join a group who are in our na­tion’s cap­i­tal, hold­ing a “Fast and Vigil for Cli­mate Jus­tice”. This coura­geous and com­mit­ted group have gath­ered to show the depth of their con­cern for the en­vi­ron­men­tal state of our planet in re­gards to cli­mate change due to ever-in­creas­ing car­bon emis­sions. I felt moved to stand with them, fast­ing for a few days, be­cause for me also, this is the big is­sue of our day.

I am dis­mayed that our coun­try (both the fed­eral and Saskatchew­an gov­ern­ment) seem un­con­cerned about the ef­fects of cli­mate change that are be­ing felt all over the planet, and continue to em­brace more dirty en­ergy pro­duc­tion (green­wash­ing by say­ing it will be new, im­proved, clean en­ergy). The rea­son seems to be busi­ness as usual, reck­lessly plan­ning to ex­ploit all avail­able re­sources de­spite the fall-out in terms of ris­ing global tem­per­a­tures and changes to the cli­mate that re­sult.

As one ci­ti­zen, of Canada and the world, I stand with those who are fast­ing and plead­ing for all of us in Canada to stop, lis­ten, learn, think about our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. The press­ing ques­tion is: what do we want our coun­try to be do­ing in the face of the dras­tic cli­mate change we are in the midst of? The sci­en­tific community is agreed that it is real, and changes are hap­pen­ing faster than ever be­fore. We don’t know how our ecosys­tems will be im­pacted, even sci­en­tists can only guess. It will re­quire dif­fer­ent kinds of ad­just­ment from peo­ple and liv­ing things; many won’t have the means to cope and sur­vive.

In Canada, we have been mov­ing at a snail’s pace, with small ef­forts like re­cy­cling (in Swift Cur­rent, it is a bare min­i­mum pro­gram), chang­ing light bulbs, and gov­ern­ment re­bates for home retrofits. In­stead of ini­tia­tives and re­search dol­lars for en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and to pro­mote re­new­able en­ergy, our lead­er­ship is push­ing for more and more dev­as­tat­ing kinds of oil and gas ex­plo­ration, and nu­clear wher­ever they can get a wedge in for it.

I am hun­gry for cli­mate change lead­er­ship and that is why I fasted for two days, and have pledged to fast for three more days dur­ing this time. Each of us can re­spond in what­ever way we are able. At www.cli­mate­fast.ca, the three op­tions for ac­tion are: write a let­ter to your MP, write a let­ter to a lo­cal pa­per, fast for one or more days. Our in­di­vid­ual ef­forts, though im­por­tant are not enough in iso­la­tion. The large im­pacts come from the sys­tems we are us­ing, and we can feel help­less to change those be­cause we need to use en­ergy, and trans­porta­tion and get food some­how.

For years, we have done our small part, yet carry on par­tic­i­pat­ing in the way things are done, ig­nor­ing how we are con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem, be­cause we don’t feel we have con­trol over the big pic­ture. Our col­lec­tive voice is the only thing that will cause an about face and changes to the sta­tus quo.

To­gether we can speak out and call for re­spon­si­ble, visionary lead­er­ship on cli­mate jus­tice.

We need it now.

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