The Leap Manifesto

In the midst of my election campaign my Dad pointed out an editorial piece in the Globe and Mail newspaper and I was able to grab the “day-old” paper and read it. It was about the “Leap Manifesto.”

Just seeing the word “manifesto” was enough to draw me in, because, let’s face it, when was the last time you saw this word? I’m pretty sure that for me it was in a high school history class in about 1973 and it was part of the phrase the ‘communist manifesto’, so using that word makes a pretty bold statement right off the bat.

The Leap Manifesto was written by a number of prominent Canadians including Naomi Klein and David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis and Arcade Fire and bunch of other hip musicians. And yes, they are a bunch of “lefties.” You’ve heard me rant about government deficits so you know I swing both ways on the political spectrum.

https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/

But this piece was different. It was a big, bold pronouncement of what we had to do to save the planet. How motivating it was for someone like me, running for the Green Party. It basically summarized all one’s worst fears about climate change and said we have to leave 75% of the known carbon (oil, gas, coal) in the ground if we hope to avoid a catastrophe. So far, this is backed by science, so I’m on board. Then it discussed how to do that.

The goal is to get the economy de-carbonized, or to stop using oil and gas and coal by 2040. Completely. Zero carbon. Nada.

It’s a tall order and one that would have been easy to achieve if we’d starting paying attention back in the 1980’s when I entered the environmental movement. But now it’s a big deal. It’s a ‘World War II/Apollo Moon Landing’ kind of commitment required. We all have to get on board and make some big changes, and governments have to lead the way. Governments have been horrifically negligent in this department and since they represent our views, we’ve been kidding ourselves that we can ignore this problem. But we can’t, and the “Leap Manifesto” is a refreshing, honest attempt to open a discussion and get people moving in the right direction.

The cool thing for me was that as I read through their goals and how to achieve them, it was basically the Green Party Policy Platform that they were highlighting. Now that’s a morale booster!

As the election wound down I found Naomi Klein’s latest book “This Changes Everything” on my bookshelf. I loved her books, “No Logo” and “Shock Doctrine,” and I started to read her new one just as the CSA got underway in the spring and it was just too big and too dense to get through. Michelle had borrowed it for me from the local library so I only had about 3 weeks in which to read it and there was no way I was going to finish it that quickly and so I bailed on it. Then I found it at a thrift store for $2! It’s only about 3 months old! And it’s hardcover! And 600 pages long and $37 new! Who can afford to do that? I don’t care! I own it now!

So I’m back into it and I see where the “Leap” came from. She suggests that we could have meandered to a solution if we’d got started long ago, but we can’t anymore. Since the science is clear about what we have to do, we have to ‘leap’ to get there.

The good thing is that I got through all the dark stuff before the election was over. I had committed to only read shiny happy stuff after the election, so now I’m on the ‘solutions’ part of the book, so I can keep reading it. And like so many of these books that I have read over the years it’s just rehashing all the stuff I know and have read before, but I read it again anyways.

Michelle and I have made our leap to a zero-carbon house. We have a long way to go in the transportation department but this is where government incentives have to come in. With a price on carbon, the automotive industry will finally have to do the right thing and mass produce electric cars. And we’ll just add another tracker with solar panels to charge our car and we’re off to the races.

And it will be easier for everyone once our governments do the right thing and start charging for the right to pollute the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which is what’s causing it to warm up. We have to pay to take bags of garbage to the dump (at least here in my rural area.) This is the same thing, only with carbon.

I like big, bold ideas. I like revolutions. And we need a revolution to fix this mess. I’m glad a group other than the Green Party is speaking out about this necessity. Once we get enough of these groups screaming loudly enough, the powers that be will listen. I wish I had been elected to Ottawa (well, sort of) so that I could be getting going on that, but that didn’t quite work out. Maybe next time (or not! Michelle is strongly discouraging me from running in an election campaign ever again).

The good news is our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems serious about climate change and just had a First Ministers (the premiers of all our provinces) meeting to discuss a strategy before the Paris climate meetings. And low and behold the new premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley just announced that her province would be putting a price on carbon. No really, that Alberta. The one with the tar sands. The one that wants to ship bitumen all over the place. How great is that!

In the meantime, check out the “Leap Manifesto.” https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/ Go on, I dare you. Get out your Karl Marx beret, find that Che Guevara T-Shirt and be radical. Life’s too short not to. (And while you are there, sign the petition.)

3 Responses to “The Leap Manifesto”

  • j:

    “Yes, something needs to be done, but not by wiping out the middle class.”

    Yup; we don’t even need a carbon tax.

    If the politicians were serious, they would tear up free trade agreements and put huge levies on imports from far away places.

    It would reduce transportation emissions and revive local manufacturing. local energy consumption would go up, but global consumption way down.

    The way things are now a carbon tax would simply cause what’s left of heavy industry to go off shore. Every government social engineering project has unintended consequences.

  • j:

    It’s not possible to de-carbonize and live the way we do, have the growth based economic system we do, while supporting 7+ billion people. Even the electric cars are made with lots of petrochemicals, the exotic materials couldn’t be mined/processed off renewable energy.. even if it was, not by 2040, maybe 2100.

    Maybe we need to learn to do everything locally again, to stop flying, do as much white collar business as possible from home. (the technology exists; why commute to an office to sit in front of a screen – we have high speed internet now)

    Even best case scenario if the scientists are right, we’re going to cook the planet to survive.

  • alain:

    Before you go jumping on to the carbon tax thing, you need to look at what has happened to the middle class of Australia. The poor will be taken care of bu the gov. The rich doesn’t care because they have the money to buy what they want.
    Yes, something needs to be done, but not by wiping out the middle class.
    That is what the carbon tax will do. You will have the very rich and the rest of the people that will have to work there butt’s off just to live.
    That is NOT what I want for me or anybody else.

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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