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GREENINGS: Vote this election (Provincial Election 2022)

May 24th, 2022 · No Comments

A vote for the oil men is a vote for genocide; it is actively acknowledging our ambivalence about the suffering of others

By Terri Chu

We live in a sea of green, red, and orange signs here in University-Rosedale, and for all the things we might disagree on, our neighbours agree on a few key points: climate change is real, vaccines work, science can move us forward.

In other ridings across the country, the federal conservatives hold proportionate power. Here in Ontario we see Doug Ford promising to build a new highway, destroying fragile ecosystems, encroaching upon the Greenbelt, and encouraging more fossil fuel consumption; meanwhile, Pierre Poilievre keeps droning on about cryptocurrencies.

 In India, people are facing temperatures over 40 C. In this kind of heat, a human being can no longer sweat to cool off, and a healthy adult male will die inside of six hours—never mind what might happen to a child or elderly person. 

A vote for the oil men is a vote for genocide; it is actively acknowledging our ambivalence to the death and suffering of others. At this point, we can no longer say that we didn’t know. Historians will rightly remember that we didn’t care. We didn’t care when our fellow humans suffered from horrific heat or starvation—at least not enough to consider systemic changes that might inconvenience our capitalist ideals. Future generations of children will read about us the same way we read about everyday Germans in the 1930s and wonder, “How could they?”

Little will they appreciate that we tried. And every step of the way we failed in the face of a system designed to protect the wealthy. It is a system designed to overwhelm us. Those of you who regularly read my columns might have noticed a darker tone over the last few years. In the early days, I used to work so hard and thought we could do this if we just convinced enough people. Now, less naïve, I see the incredible special interests that would rather see my children die of climate change-induced starvation than have to explain lower quarterly profits. Every night when I tuck my children into bed, I am overwhelmed by the grief that comes with knowing they might not live long enough to see old age—all thanks to a small, but powerful cabal of men whose entire identities are tied to resource exploitation. 

A wise professor once told me, “It doesn’t matter that what you do is insignificant, it’s still important that you do it.” I have never forgotten. I must still soldier on and do what I can to stop this climate catastrophe for my children, for your children. We must all soldier on despite the grief. 

This election we must do more than vote. We are lucky enough in this riding that we can vote with our conscience. For me, that means supporting Ontario’s former Environmental Commissioner, Dianne Saxe—the one Doug Ford fired almost as soon as he took office. 

I don’t think anyone understands the path to decarbonization the way she does. We still have to do more. If you can, find a swing riding and donate to the non-PC candidate. We have to keep doing this every election and at every level of government. 

We can no longer allow the pro-genocide cabal to dictate policy at every level. When the Liberals or NDP go back to their old ways and support pipelines in the name of the economy or jobs, we have to remind them that there will be neither if we’re all dead.  It is also past time that we changed our first-past-the-post system so the minority can no longer control the fate of the majority. 

Treat every election like you’re fighting for life—our children’s lives, Indian lives, African lives. History will judge us harshly if we don’t. 

Terri Chu is an engineer committed to practical environmentalism. This column is dedicated to helping the community reduce energy and distinguish environmental truths from myths.


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