Photo: Elders' declaration on climate change

(Credit: Jenny Lee Silver).


As Elders in our community, we believe that unchecked climate change is one of the greatest threats to peace and prosperity for our world.

Hotter global temperatures caused mainly by the build-up of carbon dioxide and other fossil fuel-based emissions in the atmosphere mean more intense droughts, more extreme weather events such as flooding, intensified smog episodes in our cities, and the extinction of many global plant and animal species.

If left unaddressed, the effects of climate change will cause great harm to people around the globe. The poorest and least responsible for the problem will be most vulnerable to the effects of uncontrolled climate change. The effects will include severe famine and significant upheaval and dislocation of people, creating hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing from regions that no longer support viable ecosystems for human survival. These impacts present a great threat to world peace as conflict over natural resources such as water and food is exacerbated.

We must take action.

This year marks an unparalleled opportunity to solve the problem of climate change, as world leaders meet at the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

We know Canadians care and want Canada to play a constructive role in the Copenhagen climate change talks. As elders, we are taking action in our communities to address climate change. We're taking action because we can build a better world — a world based on justice, fairness, and doing the right thing for people and the planet.

But we can't do it alone. We are calling on the Canadian government and other world leaders to sign onto a strong deal in Copenhagen to address climate change for the sake of our environment, economy, and the health of Canadians.

We urge Canada to lead in this international meeting and seek a constructive solution to ensure global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to safe levels based on the best scientific information. International efforts must ensure the global average temperature does not exceed 2°C from pre-industrial levels — a threshold that leading scientific academies say must not be breached if we are to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.

A strong climate treaty is vital to global efforts to avert dangerous climate change. It is part of our collective responsibility as concerned citizens. We are at a crossroads. Let us take the path in that builds peace, creates green jobs, fosters healthy communities, lifts millions out of poverty, and puts renewable energy into the hands of citizens around the world.

April 7, 2010

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