Opinion - Maggy Burns: No more climate BS; demand sweeping change in Nova Scotia election | Ecology Action Centre

Opinion - Maggy Burns: No more climate BS; demand sweeping change in Nova Scotia election

Originally published in the Chronicle Herald on July 30, 2021.


Here’s the thing: we can’t have it both ways. 

We, as a society, can’t continue to allow the bad stuff — unchecked ecosystem destruction, unrestrained resource extraction and uncontrolled coastal development — all in the name of “progress,” increasing shareholder profits and ever-higher production quotas. 

Canada has been on fire for weeks now, with flames literally licking at the doorsteps of hundreds of communities in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Elsewhere, urban centres are drowning in a deluge of water as flooding disrupts Western Europe, Panama, India, the Philippines and more. We can no longer ignore the twin existential threats of the climate emergency and biodiversity collapse. We must demand better from our elected officials and call out the BS. 


What do we mean by BS? 

Aside from the obvious, it simply means no more Bad Stuff. No more Big Subsidies to corporations that threaten our environment and our climate. No more Bad Stewardship of the natural spaces we love and need to survive. No more Burning Stuff like fossil fuels and biomass. No more Bad Salmon farming threatening our marine ecosystems. No more Backwards Systems that fail to take care of our communities. 


Transformational change

Advanced polls are now open ahead of our provincial election on Aug. 17. As we face down the intersecting crises of climate change, rising inequity and biodiversity loss, we don’t have time for leaders who are stuck in outdated ways of thinking about our environment and our economy. We need real leadership and political will to protect the communities and ecosystems we all love and rely on and to ensure a future where everyone living in Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia can thrive. 

If we are to build a better future for our province, we need immediate, ambitious and measurable action from our next government. The Ecology Action Centre has four asks we believe will set us on track to building a better future now:   

  • A bold climate plan focused on reducing GHG emissions, transitioning to renewables, creating incentives for EVs, and investing in energy efficiency and building retrofits. We also need to stop spending money on outdated industries that threaten our climate, like offshore oil and gas, burning biomass and natural gas.
  • Resilient communities supported by local food systems, active transportation and coordinated and funded climate adaptation plans for our coastal communities.
  • Healthy ecosystems with more protected areas, reformed forestry practices and the banning of harmful land- and water-based industries, including no more open-pit gold mines, polluting pulp mills and open-net pen aquaculture.
  • No one left behind as we create good, green jobs, and include a race-equity lens in decision-making and legislation. 


Transformational change is hard. It comes with many challenges and even short-term hardship. Decisions and actions must be made in the best interests of the many, not the privileged few. Solutions are created where none think them possible. We need look no further than the arc of the pandemic these last 19 months to know this is true. And so will it be for leaders and their governments when they finally, wholeheartedly and urgently respond to the climate emergency. 


Judging those who'll lead us 

Most of the party platforms are out now, full of big promises and hope that splitting the difference between the status quo and incremental change will suffice. It won’t. The EAC’s platform analysis is at https://ecologyaction.ca/nomorebs. 

The time for empty promises and half-measures is over and we’re now calling politicians out on their BS. Judge their platforms critically and remember, any party that wants to lead our province must be ready to stop investing in the things that no longer serve us — or worse, set our society back. They will need to spend what’s needed to ensure an equitable, sustainable future. They must also be willing to make tough, courageous decisions in the interest of the people, not big corporations and industry lobbyists. Let’s all call no more BS and place our votes accordingly. 

On Wednesday, Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m., the Ecology Action Centre, Sierra Club Atlantic and the Council of Canadians will be hosting a live, all-party election debate focusing on the environment. This will be a hybrid event with in-person attendees and it will also be streamed live. Visit ecologyaction.ca/nomorebs to learn more and to register to attend the debate. 


Maggy Burns is the executive director of the Ecology Action Centre, which is marking 50 years of action in 2021.