Follow by Email

Thursday, 26 May 2016

National Town Hall Meeting: Nelson, BC, May 25th, 2016

Recognize that we are meeting on the unceded territory of the Sinixt people.

Thank you, Wayne, for taking the time to be here to listen to our Nelson community and to take a meaningful part in forming climate policy for Canada.

I’m David Boyd and I’m the minister at Nelson United Church.  I’ve been part of the United Church all my life and I can say that the United Church has been involved in advocating for climate justice for over 30 years.  As a spiritual community, we’ve understood our connection to the land and the sacred dimension of all life.  We’ve tried to live out and advocate the belief that as we do to the land we do to ourselves.

I inherited my political activism from my parents who were involved in working with and alongside Haida, Gitxan, Ojibway and Vancouver Island 1st Nations.  My early influences were elders from the Gitxan and Ojibway communities.

I’m also Scots Celtic and so I learned from these influences right from birth that the earth is in me and I am of the earth, and that we are part of a sacred web of life.

My parents were politically engaged with respect to 1st Nations rights in Canada and the cold war.  I grew up with some anxiety about the fate of the world should the cold war ever become hot and boil into World War 3.  My parents actively worked to make sure that didn’t happen.  I cut my political engagement teeth in school advocating for peace.

As the Cold War was to my parents’ age, climate change is to our own.  We are at a critical moment with the Doomsday Clock once again inching toward midnight!  And that makes me frightened.

As much as I represent the United Church and my own love of this earth, I’m speaking as a father this evening and as a grandfather hoping to be.  I have 4 children, 3 of whom are in their 30’s and 1 in her mid-20’s.  They have not children and to be frank, my wife and I are not sure we want to be grandparents; we worry about a world where the very real potential for climate disaster is present, especially if we cannot stay under 2 degrees Celsius of warming; many climate experts are suggesting that we cannot.

As someone who wants to be a grandfather, these are the things that are important to me with respect to Canadian policy: ensure that we keep the global rise in temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius; set a meaningful price—not a token price—on carbon; reduce carbon pollution to levels that will ensure we do not go above 1.5 degrees; end all and any carbon trading; stop tar sands production; no fracking of any kind; create a national policy with respect to ending clear-cut logging and protecting our forests; keep the reserves of fossil fuels in the ground, set out policy to get to a 100% renewable energy economy by 2035; recognize the rights of indigenous peoples with respect to pipelines and territory; ensure that trade agreements do NOT HAVE priority over climate justice agreements.   

As part of our national climate justice policy, I also believe that we need to help fossil fuel industry workers be retrained, ensure that climate change solutions are not built on the backs of the poor in Canada or around the world, and ensure that developed countries like Canada take responsibility for the carbon pollution that we have unleashed into the atmosphere.

These last words are the words of Richard Wagamese, an Ojibway writer from Northwestern Ontario where I grew up.  These words are from his book, “One Story, One Song”:

“The Old Ones say that humility is the foundation of everything.  Nothing can exist without it.  Humility is the ability to see yourself as an essential part of something larger.  It is the act of living without grandiosity.  Humility, in the Ojibway world means “like the earth.””  The planet is the epitome of a humble being, with everything allowed the same opportunity to grow, to become.  Without the spirit of humility there can be no unity, only discord.  Humility lets us work together to achieve equality.  Humility teaches that there are no greater or lesser beings or things.  There is only the whole.  There is only the great, grand clamour or our voices, our spirits, raised together in song.”  (Page 9.)