Advice for Global and Local Leaders on Getting Action on Climate Change

We are not going to get real progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without substantive policy change, and that requires political leadership, something thus far sorely lacking at the federal level in Canada. Canadians need to mobilize, agitate, protest and vote in favor of politicians and political parties that demonstrate real leadership on this front.

– Dr. Brad Walters, Professor of Geography & Environment at Mount Allison University


In the Atlantic Region “We are so far behind, we are ahead”.


We could learn best practice from the people and places that have gone before us to expedite our region becoming the model of the “green economy”. It could mean the regeneration of the rural communities, it could mean retention of young professionals who want to be in these industries and have a great place to live for them and their families. It could mean specialization for our universities. It could mean a revitalization of tourism to come and see how it is done! It could mean a cleaner, healthier, more viable region to live in, work and play!


Our provinces are not as big as others,  we have the natural resources being primarily coastal….all we need it the political will and the local financial support for pioneering entrepreneurs!


We can do this…

Pam Cooley
Founder of CarShareHFX and Choosethical Ventures Inc.

Many environmentalists regard business as the enemy, but what if we could engage business as part of the solution instead of part of the problem?  Many people who don’t know business people often forget that we also care about our communities, the quality of our air and water, about biodiversity, and about the depletion of resources.   We too have children, and we want to leave a positive legacy and a greener world for them.  Business is the economic engine of society, and without basic economic well-being forests are cut down for fuel, land is over grazed, and sewage destroys waterways. Business and business people can be powerful allies who are more ready to engage to make a positive difference.

– Peggy Cunningham, Dean of Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University


The choose-your-own-adventure nature of social-media storytelling is a challenge for environmentalists, who have the facts on their side and few other resources. Their response to new media and hyper-abundant accessible information has been to join the avalanche, pumping out blogs and tweets and Facebook petitions, sometimes to great effect. Whether we read and learn more about the environment as a result remains to be determined. But our fundamental understanding of the world, ourselves, and our tremendous challenges, has and always will come from stories. Whether the stories hit us in hyperlinks, jump-cut video or around the fireplace, they are, as novelist Leslie Marmon Silko wrote, “all we have to fight off illness and death.” The environmental movement needs to learn that secret of great communication: Before you can engage their minds, you gotta touch their hearts. Facts are very useful things, but they are only memorable if they are embedded in story.

– Chris Benjamin, author of Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada



Canadians need to recognize that each one of us has to reflect on our energy future, on what we consume and on what resource development projects we accept in our communities and our country.  When we don’t act, when we sit back and choose not to make our voices heard by governments, we are effectively allowing others to define the future of our grandchildren’s Canada.  Climate change is the most fundamental of challenges to humankind, and as a responsible father and citizen I must engage everyone I know, including but not limited to politicians, in the mission to change our society’s approach to energy and consumption.  You are busy, I am busy, and our society is becoming more hectic and fast-paced than ever before.  But we must slow down, contemplate our strategies, and then act decisively on a day-to-day basis.  Climate change is not a political problem, it is a societal problem that starts with you and me.  Let us be the change we wish to see in our politicians.

– William Amos, Director of Ecojustice



You can’t drink oil and you can’t eat gold bars.

– Mike McGeoghegan, PEIFA President



Climate change means new boundaries on what, where, when and how.  And the outcomes are hopeful and exciting!

– Stephanie Merrill, Director of Freshwater Protection CCNB Action


We know of only one planet in the Universe capable of supporting human life. Let us tread softly upon it so future generations may enjoy it.

– Fred Winsor PhD, Conservation Chair for the Atlantic Chapter of Sierra Club Canada, and is a founder of the Northeast Avalon Group


What we need is less talk and more doing. Lead by example. Buy from businesses that are doing good in the world. Go work for those businesses. Waste less. Use less. Make your needs small. Do the most with the least. Be an inspiration and others will follow. BE the change you wish to see. We don’t need more talk–we need more doing.

– Brad Mike


Allow me to be frank and generalizing for a moment to state that there are, broadly speaking, two types of people on this planet: There are those who like to appreciate, preserve and protect the planet, and there are those who like to plunder and profit from the planet. A sustainable way forward can be forged – but only when the ‘protectors’ successfully find a way to teach the ‘plunderers’ that so much more profit is available to be made through plundering what is renewable and in abundance, rather than through the limited and precious parts of our planet that must be preserved to maintain our well-being.

– Todd MacLean, Editor-in-Chief, Global Chorus: A 365-Person Anthology of Worldwide Concern and Enduring Hope


Climate change is one of the most serious threats humankind as ever been faced with. Yet, despite two decades of scientific evidence and warning about this problem, our governments have failed at addressing the issue. This is partly because there has been, thus far, very little incentive for them to do so, but also because environmental groups, although they have won several battles over the years, have not always succeeded in getting the big picture across. In order for true to change to operate, we ultimately need to recognize that we are part of and dependent on nature and the environment that keeps the planet habitable!

– Dr. Jean-Patrick Toussaint, Science Projects Manager at the David Suzuki Foundation (Quebec)


We are not doing a good job communicating the magnitude of the climate change problem.  We have solutions, we have the economic arguments for pursuing a clean energy industrial revolution, but we still do not have the necessary community and political will.  That will take being honest about how bad it could get – within our children’s generation – if we do not act now.  Already we are going to have to find ways to deal with more extreme weather events, food price shocks, and mass migration away from coastal zones and other impacted areas.
– Leslie Malone, Canada Program Director at ENE
The simple act of walking or biking as part of our daily round – to the store, to school, to work, to the recreation centre – can have a significant impact on our ecological footprint. Never mind the greenhouse gases and air pollution we save because we’re  not driving a car; it feels good, it helps you look good and it makes our communities better.
– Janet Barlow, Active Transportation CoordinatorEcology Action Centre

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