A Call to You, for More Climate Action

Guest Post from Hil Coburn.

Happy Earth Day all ya’ll keepers of the Earth!

A big congrats to the Earth Day Grey Bruce volunteer committee on all their amazing work leading up to and throughout today! I am so excited to see where these Youth Community Climate Action Projects lead our region. High fives and thank you to each student, family member and volunteer that came out today to work towards more local Climate Action. Keep up the hard work kiddos; the community and world are here to support and work with you. We will not let you inherit the troubling, climate changing earth without our determination and deliberate work. (Please read on with an open mind for how you can be part of positive, local change; likely with a tea in hand ✌️)

Celebrating Earth Day can look like: jumping in some puddles, starting your new small (or large) climate action commitment, joining a local enviro squad, meaningfully updating your companies’ CSR commitments, etc. It is, however, truly so key to remember it is Earth Day everyday. 🌍 This is our home, and if we continue business as usual, our home will no longer support us as the world community as we know it.

As your Grade 2 kiddo or neighbour will inform you, we just have one planet Earth. If you’re not gravely concerned with our current lack of ‘government / big business/ general individual’ environmental commitments, well, frankly, you ought to be. Perhaps you’re concerned, yet not certain of how to best make a positive change. Today and everyday forward, as your pal, family member, local educator, new mama amiga and community member, I urge you to act with me. Moreover, be that person that helps your family/friends/colleagues do their part too.

This delicate and troubled Earth needs ~8 billion people to make changes; of course with the understanding that developed, high carbon emitting countries assume and follow through with more responsibility and climate action. We all need to make changes in ways that we each can in our corners of this world. Today (truthfully, yesterday)!!! But we most certainly can not keep saying ​​mañana (tomorrow)… And we can’t laugh at or be annoyed with folks like Greta Thunberg and Green Party leaders that are demanding difficult change. We need to listen to, learn from, and give the microphone (on loud) to those that are our local and global Lorax Leaders.

Today and onwards, we ESPECIALLY need… big business CEOs, government elected/appointed leaders, affluent countries/families/individuals, those with any leadership role/ voice/ clout/ power… to lead the way. Please, STOP arguing at the table and work your way through (or better yet, get rid of!) the stupid red tape—- we need team leaders to do everything, and anything. Now and each and every day.

Carbon taxes, carbon caps, solar farms, subsidies for electric vehicles, educating women, wind/geothermal/nuclear/hydrogen, reduced (everything, and food) waste, carpooling……. the well researched and existing successful ideas list goes on and on.

LEADERS. WE NEED YOU TO SAY YES to these difficult societal changes, and after that, do what you’re paid to do as a leader of any team: figure it all out together! START SMALL and build, build, build. Whoever and wherever you are :) I don’t care if you consider yourself a conservative, a green, an orange… 🍊 We are all in this together. 🎶 #highschoolmusicallover

Stick these inspiring folks’ words in your head and laugh when you get off track or hit a hurdle. Then replay their words (and so many others) again - because this problem is only going to get worse if we don’t keep trying everything.

🎤 Ghandi’s humble words; simply BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE. If we don’t, who will?

🎤Margaret Mead’s wise, renowned voice; Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens CAN change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. When your small crew combines your passions + a problem you care about and = creates an Action Plan - others will notice and join in too.

🎤 Greta’s bold and urgent call to action; her How Dare You speech should shake each of us to critically vote and follow up w our elected officials AND big corporations - often and persistently.

🔥 💦 🌍 🌱

Finally and most importantly. We need to listen to the many diverse, grounded, intelligent, culturally and spiritually resilient, insightful Indigenous communities around the world. Each carrying their own beautiful stories, culture, language, teachings and learnings. We need to help amplify Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Doing; collectively their voices are, in my humble yet certain opinion, our most aware, intelligent and connected - to -the - earth (and all its biodiverse species) human voices we have. Two leggeds certainly aren’t the center of this universe, contrary to popular western/industrialization era belief, but humans do happen to be able to critically think / act…. And we need to learn from local Indigenous knowledge holders (not instagram or hearsay) about the 7 Grandfather Teachings, the Four Sacred Medicines, the Medicine Wheel, different Creation stories, and so so much more that I absolutely don’t yet know…… and also, how to listen to our shared quiet and always breathing Mother Earth / Pachamama / Gaia.

In this part of the call to action, I urge you to respectfully, and yet not fearfully (it’s ok to make mistakes if you are gracious and humble!) make friendships that are sincere with those beautiful groups of Indigenous peoples around you. For me at the moment, as a newcomer to Owen Sound, I am so excited to be just meeting and becoming pals with good folks from the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. Both SON of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation (near what a lot of people call Wiarton) and the Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Nation (closeby to the town named Southampton). (*Britt, Jossy, Kat, Stephanie, Christopher and Natasha; please correct me if I’m wrong in any way here! Chi-miigwetch for your smiles and laughter; you are each such important and wonderful new friends to me in this gorgeous area we all call home :)! 🌲🙏💚

So, start small and commit to something today, on this pretty randomly chosen ‘Earth Day’. Baby steps can lead to pretty amazing leaps and bounds. You do you, with combining your passions/interests, with the enviro-problem(s) you care about, and boom. That community climate action plan of yours will be off the ground with your family and friends by your side in no time. We all need you in whatever capacity you can create ripples of positive environmental change in your community.

No one said changing the world is easy; BUT it’s pretty much guaranteed we will all (trees, mosquitos, beavers, bees & yes, also humans) have longer, healthier, more FUN ✌️lives if we do our part. We just have to start, share that mic, and not stop :)

🌍 🎤 🌍

Hilary Coburn

GBCS Grade 6/7 Educator

Vice President of the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario

Founder and Organizer of YCAC 2023 (Youth Climate Action Conference)

Community Collaborator and Suzuki/Greta/Ghandi/Mead admirer :)

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