Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner June 24, 2021
Just as we are most thirsting for some good news, there is some. On the climate emergency front.
Much as I believe in personal actions to limit one’s carbon footprint, and rejoice that I have to use my car so little, I know full well it’s the big boys: the corporations, the extractors, the banks, the insurers, the airlines, the mines, the national and regional governments, that must be brought to a deep green consciousness and to solid action to solve our greatest challenge, the greatest perhaps humankind has faced. And in this, our generation.
That’s an awesome responsibility: the survival of our species, other species and our world.
The eminent Bill McKibben, who started 350.org, wrote recently that May 25 was a “red letter day” for climate when a court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to dramatically cut its emission over the next decade, and a few hours later, Chevron shareholders voted that the company cut its emissions caused by customers burning its products.
I am beginning to follow the 26th United Nations “Conference of Parties” (that’s what “COP26” stands for) which will be a huge and almost desperate meeting (in-person, it is devoutly hoped) in Glasgow, November 1-12 this year.
What the title means is that 26 times before, the 195 countries of the world have met to hammer out promises and policies about the heating up of the earth.
Enter an 18-year-old from Lakefield who has long been involved in climate work and has just graduated from Adam Scott Collegiate: Malaika Collette.
The daughter of Laurie Collette, who works in the graduate studies department at Trent University and of Stephen Collette an environmental and building consultant, Malaika was turned on to the cause by her participation in teacher Cam Douglas's course Youth Leadership for Sustainability offered to students from both boards for the last three years.
Leadership she has mightily embraced, joining the global youth movement led by Greta Thunberg of Sweden. Deeply motivated both by the frightening data and by the rising youth movement internationally she was able to attend the Montreal Climate Strike for half a million people including Great Thunberg in 2019. She has spoken to COP’s president, Alok Sharma of the UK.
Her high school co-op is currently with the Green Party of Canada. Last year she joined an international committee to plan and implement “Mock Cop 26” the virtual conference for 330 youth from 140 countries, because the regular COP 26 was cancelled. The youth meeting developed a treaty and called for the UN to issue a Declaration on the Rights of Nature.
Malaika is hoping to go to Glasgow in November provided it is in-person, and her group has now applied to COP26 for Observer Status. Thirty thousand people are expected to go to what Thunberg has called our "last best chance.”
Recalling my own presence at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 as a citizen activist and how influential it has been for me, I am overjoyed that our region will, we hope, have a representative at COP 26.
I asked Malaika to send dispatches to The Examiner and other media outlets telling us all that goes on. She is speaking to the local group “For Our Grandchildren” which now has 350 members, on July 5 at their virtual meeting.
She will do herself, her family and all Peterburians proud.
Readers can follow the fate of Canada’s progressive Bill C-12 on our climate commitments. As of June 18, it is stuck in the Senate (the Senate!) and Parliament is rising for the summer.
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at at firstname.lastname@example.org or from >Amazon<