Photo: Care about the environment? Show it with a vote.

By voting for candidates who have made a commitment to protect the environment, we encourage our leaders to deliver the short-term action and long-term vision that will benefit us all. (Credit: John Fischer via Flickr).

By Ryan Kadowaki, Coordinator, Climate Change and Clean Energy program

For the next month, we'll see plenty of evidence that the handshake is alive and well, our playoff hockey games will be diced with political attack ads, and some family dinners will get a lot livelier. It's election time and politicians have hit the campaign trail (some are even trying to reduce their carbon footprint along the way). Not only is this an opportunity to observe some stellar TrashTweeting (at least by politicians' standards), it's also an important opportunity for Canadians to shape the direction our country is headed on environmental and other important issues by doing one, simple thing. Voting.

There are a lot of things we can do in our daily lives to help protect our planet. But we can't do it alone. We need to elect leaders that take environmental issues seriously and address them in their platforms. Canada's environment is more than just an idyllic backdrop we see in beer commercials. It provides essential services that sustain us (food, water, clean air) and creates jobs in a number of sectors. We have a lot to be proud of and a responsibility to ensure we pass on a healthy world to future generations. By voting for candidates who have made a commitment to protect the environment, we encourage our leaders to deliver the short-term action and long-term vision that will benefit us all.

Canada's road to environmental sustainability is full of challenges. Our country does not have an adequate plan for reducing its carbon emissions, our oceans remain in peril, and toxic chemicals are found in everything from food to fragrances. It is the leaders who address these challenges and deliver on their promises that will allow Canada to reclaim its place as an international leader on the environment.

Check out this new tool from the CBC to learn where each of the parties stand on the issues that matter to you — including the environment. Five weeks is going to go by fast. Who will you vote for when election day comes?

March 29, 2011

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Apr 06, 2011
10:21 AM

It’s too bad that the environment has been pushed way down on the list for people’s and the parties priorities.

Mar 29, 2011
5:33 PM

I am really concerned about politicians talking trash on green energy projects to gain votes. For example, in Bala, Ontario, we have a micro hydro project that could remove 20,000 tonnes of carbon. I want them to put partisanship aside and say that pressing ahead with renewables — even where unpopular and a strain on the community — is still necessary for clean air, water and life in general. They have to put partisanship aside and get behind the environment. Today one federal politician lost my vote.

Mar 29, 2011
5:18 PM

I honestly have very little faith in our political system or process, no matter who has been in power over the past few decades whether Conservative or Liberal, it’s just been a constant lack of vision, wholesale corruption and a general unwillingness to act on any scientific evidence given to them. What’s potentially even worse though is that some political parties wont even really admit (either verbally or through inaction) that Canada and the world face a very complex and unnerving future in the next few years into the next few decades in regards to such incredibly large and profound issues such as climate change and peak oil (or energy security) etc.

While I can’t say I fully support everything the Green Party stands for, they really are the only political party in Canada that understand that there really is no larger issue than the state of our environment in terms of Canada and it’s people’s future (notwithstanding the rest of the world). They’re the only party where climate change is central to their platform, where science and reason guide policy rather than opinion and faith. Unfortunately based on our nonsensical first past the post system, as it stands today they’ll never make it into power, but they do receive $1 for every vote cast which certainly helps.

For me it basically comes down to this: Most credible scientists now say we have about 5 to 10 years to drastically reduce our carbon footprint before its too late, basically when Mother Nature takes over the process and the Earth will begin to continue to heat up naturally based on positive feedbacks like the release of methane underneath the permafrost in the arctic etc. On top of this energy experts predict peak oil to hit within the next 5 to 15 years, if it hasn’t yet already peaked, which will further exacerbate climate change (as we move towards more coal as an alternative) and generally just create a whole lot of political, economic and social strife, notwithstanding all of the political, economic and social strife that climate change will cause, both internationally and in our own backyard in Canada (ie. your food prices are going to increase and things like international travel will become unfordable). So if this is the scenario am I really going to vote for a party like the Conservatives, Liberals or NDP who squabble about ridiculous issues like coalition governments, or am I going to vote for a party that doesn’t just play lip service on acting on reducing are carbon output?

Honestly the future doesn’t look very bright as it stands but i find Im increasingly unable to just sit idle anymore and be so fatalistic about all of this. Even if we can’t stop these major problems from occurring (and as it stands it seems to me that we are probably beyond that point right now) we definitely still have the ability to mitigate the damage they will cause and create further resilience in the system to help withstand major shocks.

If this at all rings true for you, how could you in good conscience vote for a party which refuses or fails to deal with these issues seriously and place these issues rightfully as a central piece of their platform?

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