Sustainability
1 min

Quebeckers on the streets should unite us all

Sunday was Earth Day. A day to celebrate and safeguard our planet and its life (in all
its forms and splendour). 

 

It
was also a historic day for Canada: the largest environmental protest ever, according
to Pierre Lussier of Jour de la Terre Québec. The Montreal Gazette says police
estimated between 200,000
to 300,000
people, while CBC counted "tens
of thousands
," pointing out that many were part of the ongoing
student protests against planned tuition hikes.

 

The
rest of us should take notice. I woke up yesterday to snow, wind and rain and
invariably thought about the environment, even if this small flash of winter is to be expected in April. 

 

Montrealers march in support of environmental issues on Earth Day. Photo: Peter McCabe, The Gazette 

 

My
mind was with the Quebec protesters who seem to lead the fight for the rest of
Canada on many sociocultural and environmental fronts. 

 

As
Roger Baldwin so rightfully said, "Silence
never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by
pressures from below.
” 

 

I
wonder how many Canadians would agree with the side effects of oil and gas
exploitation, not to mention other forms of activity that threaten our air, water and animals.

 

In part,
our economy was built and is still largely dependent on land exploitation.
Primary industries such as agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas
development are tied to our economic health, so in the context of a government
that was elected on a platform that is focused on the economy, it seems you have to
dream big to ask for environmental reforms.

 

The
priorities are trade
and economic growth, and this inevitably comes at a cost when it's not balanced
with a responsible and meaningful strategy for long-term sustainability, which includes social and environmental — not just financial — pillars.  

So
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our francophone Canadians for having
the courage and wisdom to demand change. Thank you for looking out for affordable education, clear air, clean water, biodiversity and other really
important elements of a sustainable country while the rest of us are watching you
fight it out on TV.


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