Why we march

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And so we had another big climate action rally taking place this weekend, this time in Quebec City.

I know what some must have thought: ‘Ah great, there go those damn environmentalists again, if they had their way nobody in the country would have have a job.’

It’s a reputation that, truth be told, could be justified at times over the past few decades. But it’s not the case anymore.

Today’s environmentalist is thinking along the same lines as your accountant, your insurance agent, or your doctor. The Problem: we can’t keep treating our planet this way. The Solution: treat it in the quickest, most cost-effective manner possible.

You see, I’m not against oil, nobody is against oil, what we’re saying is: oil is an an energy source whose time has come and gone.

And that’s okay, because we have cleaner, safer, and sustainable energy sources in plenty abundance. It’s their time to shine. It’s time for us to start laying out the plan, policies and programs for that to happen.

That’s what this weekend was about. It’s saying yes to our premiers who are gathering this week to talk about climate change. It’s about showing we’re behind leaders who want to protect our climate.

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And just as the common conception of an environmentalist is out of date, so too is the idea – tirelessly promoted by old guard political, energy and media interests – that Canadians have to choose between jobs and a clean environment.

We get more jobs and long-lasting jobs with investments in clean energy and energy efficiency than we will from further oil and and gas expansion. There’s no expiry date on solar, wind and hydro energy sources and there’s no limit to Canadians’ ingenuity and knack for innovation when we’re not held down by out-dated ideas.

And this talk of bountiful jobs in clean energy isn’t pie in the sky stuff. Countries like Finland are already enjoying the benefits all across society. With New Brunswick being so rich in renewable sources, it makes me excited to think how many people we could put to work and how many workers we could bring home to their families if we had the right policies and programs in place.

So this weekend, when you saw images on your local news of 25,000-strong gathered in the streets of Quebec City, remember that we weren’t marching against oil, coal, pipelines – we weren’t marching against anything.

We marched because we want jobs, we want a clean environment, and we know that in today’s world we can – and we must – have both.

It’s just the right thing to do.

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Jon MacNeill is Communications Officer with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. He attended the Act on Climate march in Quebec City on Saturday, April 11. Stay posted to our blog this week for more stories and photos from the march.

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