Believe! – Earth Day 2007

It’samazing to be here today in Victoria.It’s marvelous to celebrate with so many like minded people who care about theplanet.

I’m sure will hear some great speeches, some fabulousmusic here today. It will exciting, uplifting.

But in a few hours after thecelebration we’ll all have to go hEarth Day 2007ome When we wake up on Monday morning we’ll haveto go back to Deadlines that are hard to meet; Payrolls that are hard to meet; Someof us – like me – will have to face policy makers that are REALLY hard to meet.

And tomorrow, or the next day or the dayafter, You may wake up feeling overwhelmed. Thinking that the problems are so huge, Peopleare so scattered and our opponents seems so big and entrenched.

You may wonder: is it possible, can wechange fast enough?  You may despair…Thereare so many urgent issues…and we have so little time. ARE WE GOING TO GETANYWHERE?

I just want to tell you all –  NO I want to remind you – that when you getthat feeling, think back.  Think back to just15 months ago. Remember what you felt like back in January 2006.

Recall – Weren’t we worried about mostanti-environmental Prime Minister IN MEMORY? Weren’t we facing the 5thyear of Gordon Campbell perhaps the brownest Premiere in BC history?

How fast things can change!

If  I hadstood up before you then and said that in just 15 months – that in a littlemore than a year – our political parties would be climbing over each other to appeargreenest…You would have laughed!

If I had predicted Gordon Campbell would gofrom being a global warming denier, to seeking a legacy as a climate changeleader. If I had said that Stephan Dion would be the new leader of the federalliberals. That he would make the environment the main plank in his campaign.  If I had said that the Grits would build analliance with the Green Party.  You wouldhave called the medics in the white suits.

Just 15 months ago, you wouldn’t havebelieved that the BC government would:

       promise to reduce GHG by 33%;

       effectively cancel two coal fired power plants;

       commit to finally HELPING PAY FOR treating Victoria’s sewage.  

You would have scoffed

But it happened! And it happened fast.

So now I’m here to tell you –   to predict – that we have just begun. Thenext two years will be the tipping point for a new climate justice movement.  Believe me, I’m telling you the truth

I’m telling you the truth, when I say ourmovement will seek nothing less than transforming how we live. That we will redesignhow people relate to the earth. How people relate to the economy… and to each other

We are just getting started. Our movement isjust building

In next two years we will get stronger.

We are going to force our political leadersto:

  • Set hard caps on GHG emissions;
  • Impose carbon taxes; and
  • Stop giving Billions of Dollars in subsidies to oil and gas companies.

In the next two year we are going to succeed in:

       Reigning in out of control tar sands development;

       Rewriting building codes to require energy efficiency;and

       Stopping 6 tanker/pipeline projects that threaten BCnorth coast

This may be ambitious, but look at what youhave already accomplished.

When I say we did it… I’m not talking about people you don’t know. When I say wepushed global warming to the top of the agenda…I’m not talking about someone else.

It was you, your friends, and yourcolleagues. It was the groups whose tables line the lawn of the legislaturetoday.

We have accomplished a lot, but much moreawaits us.

Believe folks! We are on a wave

While the verdict remains out about whetherour leaders are sincere.  Or will followthrough.  Remember it is the people, folks like you whohave put climate change on the map.  Andit is people like us that will keep it there!

We can not no longer be ignored.

We are the people that are going to dowhatever is necessary to make sure that Oil tankers are not allowed on BC coast.

 Weare the people that will not allow an Exxon Valdez like spill to pollute ourprecious waters.

We are the people are going to hold StephenHarper & Garry Lunn responsible for ignoring the moratorium on oil tankers imposed in1972 –  a moratorium that 8 prime minister respected, but that Harperbegan violating immediately after assuming power

And this is just one of the issueswe will win.

But are we prepared for our own success?

What does our dream look like?         

What does the world we are fighting for feellike? Taste like?

Can we write that story?

Tough questions need to be addressed.

Will the transition toa sustainable economy be inclusive?  Doesit include the poor? First Nations? Developing countries? How can we stop ourgovernments from fast-tracking fossil fuel exploration when they are addictedto the revenue it produces?

Answering these questions will be hard.

It is much easier to point out the problemswe face. But remember Martin Luther King Jr didn’t get famous for a speechcalled “I have a complaint.” He didn’tsay,  “I have a long set of issues todiscuss.” He talked about his dream.

A dream of mountaintops and promised lands.A dream of little black and white children holding hands.

We too have dreams. Hopeful dreams.Beautiful dreams. Dreams about a country, a world that is just, equitable and amodelof sustainability.

We must imagine – no believe – that we canlead the world in clean and green. We must believe we can figure out new ways to build cities,Figure out new ways to move people, grow food and resolve racialinjustices.

I have high expectations for myself. I havebig dreams for the Dogwood Initiative. And I believe in the power of this growingclimate justice movement.

I don’t have all
the answers. No one does. Noone person, or one organization is going to lead us to the promised land.  
It will be a collective effort.

BUT ONE THING I DO KNOW is when you leavehere today… Remember that you are not alone. Remind yourself that you a part ofsomethinghuge and growing.

Remember, that our unstoppable movementfaces the biggest challenge we have ever faced.. Transforming how we live.  

There is no time to waste. So get active, Gojoin the BC Sustainable Energy Association.             Volunteeran evening, join another protest, vote for change, give money to good groups, go sign DogwoodInitiative petition against tankers. Make a difference!

I believe that we can do it… That each andevery one of you has a role to play.

I know it will not be easy.  Sacrifices willhave to be made. But in my heart of hearts I know we are up to the task.

I know we have the creativity…the fortitude …thehumility.  And the Power, to make ourcollective dream a reality                                

Thank you

Special Thanks to Van Jones for some of the concepts in this speech.

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