Friday, September 12, 2008

Environmental Sustainability

David Suzuki says; "My greatest fear in this election is not that one candidate or one party will win over the other. My nightmare is that the issue of the environment will be ignored in this election and that concerns about our planet will be drowned out by the name-calling and political posturing that have come to mark Canadian campaigns. And if that happens, if we fail to put the focus on the environment, the message to the next government - regardless of which party prevails - will be a mandate for more inaction.

...We have to put all candidates' feet to the fire. We have to show them that we will not accept future inaction. We will demand that they address our environmental concerns - that they represent us."

As we head into elections on both sides of the Canada/US border it is up to citizens to make certain that politicians understand how seriously we take the issue of environmental sustainability. Furthermore it is even more important that we make them understand that this is not just an election issue; it is now a life-and-death issue for species all over the earth.

Summarized by the David Suzuki Foundation here are Five Principles for Environmental Sustainability:

Precaution –Scientific uncertainty cannot be an excuse for inaction where there is a risk of irreversible damage to the environment. This is especially true when alternatives are readily available or solutions, like increasing energy efficiency, can deliver economic benefits as well.

Polluter pays - Those who pollute need to be held responsible for their pollution. No one should be allowed to freely dump greenhouse gases, toxics or other waste products into our environment, leaving our climate, our ecosystems and our communities paying the real costs of these actions.

Leaving the world a better place for our children - Future generations deserve at least the same environmental opportunities as we had. Canadians have accepted this principle for dealing with government debts; now it is time to apply it to our growing environmental deficit by adopting preventative approaches to pollution and putting in place strong protections for irreplaceable ecosystem services.

Make governments accountable for the state of our environment – We must be able to measure progress against national environmental objectives using clear indicators, and we must make such progress reporting routine and ongoing. Access to factory or facility-level and community-based environmental information collected by government must be readily available to all Canadians. Such access could be ensured through the development of a federal Environmental Bill of Rights.

Good global citizenship – The wealth and talent of Canadians (and Americans) mean there are no excuses for our countries not to be world leaders in environmental sustainability. In fact, we should be actively helping developing countries become more environmentally sustainable by demonstrating and sharing best practices. Canada and the US need to be constructive contributors to international environmental protection efforts, not two huge roadblocks to progress.

How do we send those messages?

Canadians can join Vote Environment 2008.

Americans can join We Can Solve It

Original source:

From the "Tomorrow Today" report. A joint project of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace Canada, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, Pollution Probe, Sierra Club Canada and World Wildlife Fund.

1 comment:

Sustainability Advocate said...

If only we could get people and companies to follow those five simple principles, we would be a long way towards creating a sustainable world. I'll try and do my part.