I realize that, at this point, bringing up the climate crisis is like beating a dead horse. But at the end of the day, I always like to take this opportunity to talk about the issues that are closest to my mind and heart at the moment, and after the summer we've had it'd be impossible not to circle back to this topic.
A devastating heat wave in England, a country so accustomed to mild weather that homes aren't properly insulated and air conditioned to protect from soaring temperatures.
Severe flooding throughout the entirety of Midwestern United States, after St. Louis broke its 1915 record for the most rainfall in a 24-hour span.
Even to the most casual observer, climate change is no longer a theoretical phenomenon—it is a lived reality.
Now, more than ever, we must truly think about what it means to take personal responsibility for this crisis. Yes, I realize that the environmental impact of your average individual pales in comparison to the average corporation (and those corporations should absolutely be held accountable), but our response to climate change should address every level of our existence, both the personal and the political.
I've tried my best over the years to practice what I preach in this regard. I live, and have lived for many decades, on a 500-acre nature preserve, a place where natural resources are constantly recovered (this means that the wood furnace that heats my home only uses sustainable resources). I also have a well for drinking water, generate our electricity with solar panels, and continue to live in a 170-year-old log house.
To me, these are all simply prerequisites for being a climate leader in my community and throughout Canada. I feel that it is my responsibility to use my personal experiences with sustainability to help make Plenty Canada even more carbon negative, and to position our organization as a leader among similar groups.
Almost all of our new programs further these goals, our various food sovereignty projects, our initiatives helping species at risk, the studies we have conducted on the American Eel, etc. They contribute to our overall vision for sustainability: the notion that carbon neutrality and environmental advocacy should be the norm for every organization going into these next few decades—not just NGOs (non-governmental organizations), but for profit-making businesses as well! On the local, national, and international levels we should all pool our knowledge and create new modes of living that prioritize every living being on Earth.
This two-pronged approach, combining personal responsibility with social cooperation, absolutely cannot wait for some arbitrary time in the future. The time to act is now. But you don't need me to tell you that, do you? This summer, the evidence is more undeniable than ever. Let's just hope that the people who continue to deny the worrying effects of climate change finally wake up and join us in our efforts.
Chi Miigwech. Niá:wen. Merci. Thank you.