The following is the second question posed to the three candidates for leadership of the Green Party of Alberta in the lead up to the September 22nd vote by members to decide the leadership:
“Many Albertans shy away from talking or even thinking about climate change – largely because their incomes depend fairly directly upon the oil and gas industry. But many are also outdoors people – they hike, camp, hunt or fish – and care very much about the quality of Alberta’s eco-systems.
How can Greens do a better job of bringing these conservation and bio-diversity issues to the public debate over the future of Alberta?”
The answers from the three candidates are given below in the order in which they were received. A strict 150 word limit was imposed.
When we play or work outside – our well being is linked to biodiversity. Alberta’s biodiversity includes provincial parks, developed recreation areas, pristine wilderness, natural landscapes, conservation areas and biological diversity, including heritage appreciation and tourism.
But what if we can’t go outside – too smoky. How do we ensure environmental health and integrity, and protect Albertans’ health and safety, from natural phenomena, climate-related conditions and events? We adapt, responding quickly to natural disasters, to be ready for them, because their impact is so widespread and devastating.
Can we mitigate these risks? The Green Party of Alberta wants to introduce an Environmental Bill of Rights, and advocates for ethical resource development, creating new jobs without sacrificing our air, land, water, animals, birds, fish – biodiversity. Ethical resource development integrated with economic, environmental, social and cultural considerations, and the inclusiveness and recognition of Indigenous interests.
These are all inter-related issues: bio-diversity, climate change, conservation, stewardship, habitat preservation. As traditional native beliefs teach us: everything is connected; we are a part of Mother Earth.
I’ve heard people say (and sometimes this comes from oil industry workers): “I’m not an environmentalist but …” and then they show they care about the environment, and they want their industry to do better at minimizing their impacts.
We can do better. The GPA has been a leader in developing policies that help us maintain clean air, healthy waters, well-managed lands and thriving wildlife. This is one of the Green Party’s strengths.
And it’s one of my strengths: I’ve worked with both multi-stakeholder groups and environmental NGO’s towards these same goals. Albertans want this. We need government to take the lead. We can get there if everyone contributes; we need everyone’s help and involvement. This is what makes Alberta strong.
More bold and honest messaging needs to be developed for the purpose of expressing to Albertans, even those in the oil and gas industry, the consequences of chemical synthetics use.
Campers, farmers and people who love to fish must be heartbroken by the view of blue green algae taking over many wonderful lakes, ponds and dugouts across the province. Blue green algae blooms occur when water bodies become polluted by industrial activities, such as the spraying of chemical synthetics on fields.
This is an issue people can relate to because they see it every summer. The disappointment of blue green algae has to be visually represented and presented better by connecting with Albertans and sharing their heartbreaking stories of not being able to go into the water.
To bring conservation and biodiversity more into the public debate, the Green Party of Alberta should focus on more relatable issues.
For more information on the candidates go to: http://greenpartyofalberta.ca/green-party-of-alberta-announces-officially-approves-leadership-candidates/#more-4224