Seth Klein Speaks About Climate Change
Climate change is undeniable.
We have been affected by ongoing wildfires in BC, global warming is changing
weather patterns, and storms are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Seth Klein spoke at the BCTF
AGM to inspire delegates about the need to align Canadian politics with the
climate emergency we are facing. He suggested that tackling climate change
should now be our calling as teachers. Students and their teachers need to be
thinking and learning about how to cope and adapt to the climate emergency, and
how we can solve the largest puzzle facing human survival.
To illustrate how we can
achieve this, Klein reminded teachers that society has done so before. During World
War II (WWII), Canadians mobilized to confront an existential threat. WWII
wasn’t an imminent threat to Canadians, and it took leadership to get the
public on board. The rich made sacrifices as well as the poor. And it’s
important to remember that Canada didn’t wait for the US to join the fight, we
did it years earlier. There’s no need for us to wait for the United States to
lead the way this time, either.
“We need to go to war for a
collective issue—climate change needs a war time scale emergency response.
There’s a gap between what science says we must do and what politics will
entertain,” he said. “We have 11 years to get our emissions to net carbon zero.
Failure to do so will have catastrophic and terrifying results.”
He told delegates about five
things teachers can do to help:
the climate emergency into lessons.
BCTF resolutions on climate change and keep it on our agendas.
school boards to align with this agenda; purchasing electric cars, geothermal
heating in schools, locally sourced food for cafeterias, etc.
Aboriginal rights. Future laws need to be in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
the voting age; our youth are marching, but they can’t vote, and we are failing
to make decisions about the world they will live in. The BCTF should add our
support to the call to give the vote to 16-year-olds.
Klein received a standing
ovation, and he was followed by Tessa Jones, a Grade 11 student. “What we are
working towards is crucial to our future children. We are tired of the
divisiveness and we need to be working toward the same thing,” she said. “Change
is hard, but no matter what we do, we will see change in the very near future. We
have the choice to see that change be either catastrophic or successful.”