Earth Day has been celebrated for nearly 50 years and while it is always an important occasion to acknowledge, this year Earth Day comes with a greater sense of urgency.
We are facing a wave of Conservative politicians who don’t seem to care about the planet they will be leaving for their children and grandchildren. They only care about themselves and padding the pockets of their rich cronies.
They either don’t take climate change seriously enough or believe that it’s an outright hoax. If you add that to their belief that protecting our green spaces and endangered species is a barrier to business and development then we have a real environmental disaster brewing.
It’s probably a good guess that Earth Day is not an occasion that is celebrated or acknowledged with any sincerity in Doug Ford’s little world.
But we do know that Ford is celebrating the Alberta election results with great enthusiasm. He is delighted that he has another conservative ally in Jason Kenney to help him fight the federal carbon tax, which is designed to combat the disastrous effects of climate change. What he always conveniently forgets to mention is that the money collected from the carbon tax will be returned to Canadians in their income tax returns.
At OPSEU, we know that clean air, clean water and living in harmony with other species is the key to a healthy quality of life now and in the future. We also know that taking care of our environment is less costly and better for the economy and productivity. Clean air and water means fewer workers getting sick, less time off work and less strain on our health care system.
The Ford government says that it is open for business, but it’s not open for investing in the future of the planet. Doug Ford says that he is “for the people,” but is he really “for the people” when he erodes environmental protections for which future generations will ultimately pay the price?
Let us all take the time this Earth Day to not only be mindful of our personal connections to the environment, but to also make a pledge to protect it – on Earth Day and every day.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer