This reflection was written on Friday, December 11, 2015 in Paris, France.
To the people of Canada: You need to see the youth of our country here at COP21. They are respectful, brilliant, keeping us on our toes. They make their points by being straight across the bow. And, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the way to do it. Time is the most precious commodity we have here, and there’s none to spare.
I have been here since Sunday, starting at COP21 on Monday. My learning curve has been straight up. Here are some tips for those of you who have never been, speaking as a veteran of four days: Read, read, read, keep an open mind. Listen to the youth—their minds are fast, they know the jargon, they seem to be able to analyze, and they are certainly the ones we will pass our mistakes to (as well as the fix-ups we may have managed to do in the past decade). Include the Indigenous peoples in your “how to” discussions. AND remember three things: we are part of the eco-system, we all need clean air, clean food, clean water, clean soil, and a clean conscience, and your mother probably taught you to clean up your room, so do your part.
On the serious side, I have watched and sometimes put my nickel’s worth into the fray. Canada is a wonderful place to call home. We need to let go of our old ways of “there’s lots, so let’s take our share or more.” Cut back on consumerism. Don’t depend on the government to do all things. We clean out our own gardens when each season comes about—we know what we need to do. Let’s use the same principles and all do our part in making our footprints smaller.
Do you want our temperature rise to be minimal (less than 1.5°C)? We have to be prepared to do the most. We have reaped the benefits of freedom, choice, and lack of responsibility for the past years. Now it’s time to pay the piper, if you may.