Betty attended a talk on the Green New Deal in Toronto and came across the Kitchen Table Climate Conversations group and decided to bring it back to Goderich. Overall intentions for these gatherings were to increase understanding of the climate emergency, to help people confidently take action personally and in their community, and to encourage advocacy for strong climate agendas at every level of government. Anyone is able to run a Kitchen Table Climate Conversation, Betty is very willing to pass on the information, if you are interested in doing so. Contact us here.
Science of Climate Change: A short summary of climate science was provided to make sure we are all on the same page as to the urgency of the situation. Betty passed around educational handouts and graphics about carbon emissions, extreme weather, and global warming as a whole. Canadian policies as they are now are set to produce a global warming increase of 3.3°C instead of the target of 1.5°C. It not only has an impact on the climate but there is also a huge impact on heart disease, asthma, and other health issues. But on the good news side of things, the clean energy sector is growing, there are currently 298 000 jobs.
Coping with Eco-Stress: Eco-stress is fear, grief, and stress about the future due to the emergency climate issues happening today. 1 in 4 people suffer from it. Everyone discussed their feelings, concerns, fears, and hopes around climate change. Each person wrote down and shared their main concern associated with the climate crisis. The concerns were surrounding topics such as: Lack of clean air, lack of oxygen, lack of clean water, increases in drought and heat, right wing politics, health and well-being of children and grandchildren, destruction of the world, greedy rich corporations not being reined in, social divides leading to an increase in war.
The group shared what they personally do to feel better when they are feeling stressed, topics included: Recycling properly, reduction of plastic use, yoga, talking with grandchildren, joining social groups, forwarding environmental articles to our local politicians, cutting back on the intake of meat, and purchasing local food.
The group shared some good news stories, including: The enthusiasm of young people (such as Eco Exeter, their general compassion for nature, our curriculums are getting better and actually teaching about climate change, promoting beach clean-ups), a bus service has come to small towns, the carbon tax is working in certain communities and will act as a good example, 2700 people in Huron-Bruce voted Green in this past election, a company is converting plastic to wood which will last 25 years, and a Benmiller resident is working on converting plastic to oil.
Science of Social Change: We discussed how we can work together to create rapid societal shifts that are needed. Changes can happen quickly, cars became popular in just 13 years, we could turn it around in the opposite direction just as fast. The group believes that political action is really our only hope. But 3.5% of the population can be enough to make action happen on a community basis too. Tips for successful activists were shared, including: Keep your stories to ones of success and positivity, provide simple steps for people to follow, and create a social collective.
We discussed what people may be willing to pay for climate change, zero waste seems expensive so are people going to invest? It is actually a low cost system but unfortunately greenwashing is at its highest right now, making people believe they need to spend more. Canada also seems willing to pay money for a pipeline instead of climate change mitigations. Is this eventually going to be the end of capitalism?
We discussed transportation. There should be more availability in northern and rural communities. Ride sharing should be more of a priority for people, but it isn’t. We should be more like Europe where there are buses and trains to most cities, even if they are small towns. A ride share hub should be implemented in Goderich. Electric vehicles would be the way to go but maybe the government will start controlling our electricity use too, just like they do with oil and gas. Will we have enough energy for the entire world to be charging electric vehicles?
Vision: Change is stressful but we can help ourselves, our family, friends, and community come to terms with the need for change by having a vision for the future. It will be important to acknowledge the losses and to recognize the gains as well as more meaningful connections and experiences. We discussed what gives us hope and we were excited as a group to create more action in the future.