Lindsay Lee wrote the following letter following the call to action by Jacob Fillmore, the young man camped out on Grand Parade Square to protest the government’s lack of action on climate change.
The Nova Scotia Advocate
Contributed by Lindsay Lee
Editor: Robert Devet
December 18, 2020
Read on the NS Advocate
To Whom It May Concern:
As we grapple with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, proper environmental stewardship is more important than ever. Unfortunately, responsible action on vital environmental issues is conspicuously absent in Nova Scotia.
I had never before thought of myself as an activist. However, I understand the escalating threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. I recognize that urgent action is needed. I expect our government to make well-researched decisions that reflect the best available science. If trusting in science makes one an activist, then I will wear that label with pride.
“The current rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural background rates,” according to the Centre for Biological Diversity. Around one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, more than ever before in human history. Many of these species may go extinct within decades. And yet, this government is doing nothing to mitigate these threats. The science is clear; it’s the political will that is lacking.
Lands and Forestry’s “chronic and systemic failure” to satisfy its legal obligations under the Endangered Species Act has been detrimental to many of our native wildlife species. This is of great concern to many Nova Scotians and should be a priority to our politicians.
Jacob Fillmore is currently camping in Grand Parade to protest this government’s continued inaction on important environmental issues. Please understand that Jacob’s concerns echo my own. This is not just one man; this is a movement.
I fully support Jacob’s environmental platform and his quest to generate positive environmental change. While it may seem extreme to camp out in a snowstorm or spend weeks on end at a forest encampment, the Department of Lands and Forestry resolutely ignores all letters, emails, phone calls, petitions, and requests for meetings. Our own government is refusing to engage in meaningful dialogue with concerned citizens, and that is unacceptable.
Consequential decisions made by a responsible government should never be based on the whims of industry leaders. It is time to shake off the yoke of industry and represent the people of Nova Scotia.
An increasing number of Nova Scotians are exasperated by the lack of environmental action. Together, we are telling you that this era of autocratic governance and environmental degradation must end.
Natural climate solutions are an integral part of our future. Yet the government is allowing ecosystem services to be squandered, all so it can cling to an outdated economic model.
Water has recently joined gold, oil, and other commodities traded on Wall Street, “highlighting worries that the life-sustaining natural resource may become scarce across the world.” (Bloomberg) The Bank of Canada has warned that climate change will have a profound impact on the economy. Financial institutions around the world agree that substantial damage will occur in the absence of strong climate action. Our provincial government needs to consider the projected future disruptions as well as the devastating global impacts that we’re already seeing.
This is especially pertinent in a coastal province like Nova Scotia. Coastal and marine ecosystems are “among the most productive yet highly threatened systems in the world.” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Marine and Coastal Ecosystems & Human Well-being). Indeed, coastal areas are home to key species and habitats. But coastal provinces like Nova Scotia are at an increased risk of climate-driven sea-level rise, more frequent (and more intense) storms, warming ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and more.
We can no longer afford to view the well-being of the natural world as disparate from our own. Our entire existence – our entire planet – depends on biodiversity. And yet, the provincial government’s continued mismanagement of our natural resources is exacerbating the biodiversity and climate crises.
I’m calling on you to take swift and meaningful action on the following issues:
- Halt even-aged cutting
- Protect species at risk without delay
- Cancel the Alton Gas storage facility
- Legally protect Owls Head Provincial Park
I would appreciate a response with your position on each of the aforementioned environmental issues. Thank you.