Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Canadian Groups Fight for Covid-19 Recovery That Prioritizes Human and Ecological Health

Climate
Canadian Groups Fight for Covid-19 Recovery That Prioritizes Human and Ecological Health
Nearly 200 Canadian organizations rolled out their demands for a "just recovery." DKosig / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Nearly 200 Canadian organizations on Monday rolled out their demands for a "just recovery," saying that continuing business-as-usual after the pandemic would prevent the kind of far-reaching transformation needed to put "the health and well-being of ALL peoples and ecosystems first."


The choices we make now about how to recover from this pandemic will shape not only our health and economic future, but also the future of human life on this planet," Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff said in a statement.

 

"This moment is a reminder that the status quo can and must be disrupted," the new Just Recovery for All website declares. "We are standing on the threshold between the old world and the next and we must choose to build the future we want."

A just recovery—which would enable the government and civil society to "build back better"—rests in six key principles:

  1. Put people's health and well-being first, no exceptions. Health is a human right and is interdependent with the health and well-being of ecological systems.
  2. Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people. Focus relief efforts on people—particularly those who are structurally oppressed by existing systems.
  3. Prioritize the needs of workers and communities. Support must be distributed in a manner consistent with Indigenous sovereignty, a climate resilient economy, and worker rights, including safe and fair labor standards and a right to unionize. Improved conditions for essential service workers must be maintained beyond this crisis.
  4. Build resilience to prevent future crises. We cannot recover from the current crisis by entrenching systems that will cause the next crisis.
  5. Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders. In a globalized world, what happens to one of us matters to all of us.
  6. Uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples. A Just Recovery must uphold Indigenous Rights and include the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, in line with the standard of free, prior, and informed consent.

The principles were endorsed by progressive groups focused on a broad range of issues including 350.org, the Canadian Federation of Students, Oxfam Canada, and The Leap.

"The huge collaborative effort that brought these principles to life over many weeks of rich, challenging discussions exemplifies the kind of action we expect of political leaders as we move through this crisis," Catherine Abreu of Climate Action Network Canada said in a statement.

"It's going to take a massive and diverse community of voices to encourage governments to be bold in the face of corporate lobbies, and to put people and communities first," she said.

"Our goal was to capture the immense amount of care work happening throughout Canadian civil society right now and present a vision of a Just Recovery that leaves no one behind," Abreu explained. "We know this is a vision the majority of Canadians support, and millions of people are ready to take action."

As for the inevitable question—How are you going to pay for it?—the groups say the money is already there. It's just a question of changing who's on the receiving end. From the new site:

The government currently gives billions of dollars in handouts to industries that harm our environment and communities, including the oil and gas industry. Canada also loses billions of dollars to offshore tax havens every year.

Right now, the government is working on a plan to rebuild our economy. It is likely that they will unveil a stimulus package, but it's on all of us to ensure that money goes directly to workers and communities, not corporations. By bailing out people, not big businesses, and closing tax loopholes, we can start to build a sustainable and just future for all.

Dr. Courtney Howard of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment says it's clear from what she's witnessed amid the global pandemic that people are willing to use moments of crisis as turning points for positive change.

"To feel safe," she said, "we need to manage two planetary health emergencies at once—Covid-19 and its economic fallout, and climate change."

"We've shown that when pressed, we prioritize health. We take care of one another," said Howard.

"We have a generational opportunity to use this time of crisis and reflection to bring to life a vision of planetary health for all," she continued. "We've stayed home to save lives. By working together on a just and healthy recovery, we'll save more."

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has called for more research leading to new guidelines for safer intersections, crosswalks, lights, and more. georgeclerk / Getty Images

Walking to work or to the store is better for the climate than driving, so climate advocates encourage people to leave their cars at home when possible.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Homes and roads in Dallas, Texas covered in snow. The 2021 winter storm dropped temperatures as low as zero degrees. Isaac Murray / Moment / Getty Images

An independent market monitor says ERCOT, the Texas grid operator, left wholesale electricity prices at the legal maximum for two days longer than necessary, and overcharged power companies $16 billion in the process during the winter storm that caused massive grid and gas system failures and left more than 4 million Texans without electricity.

Read More Show Less

Trending

About 931 million tons of food waste were generated across the world in 2019, but there are gaps in the data. Wachira Wacharapathom / Getty Images

By Thomas Gordon-Martin

According to a global food waste index released on Thursday, some 931 million tons of food waste were generated across the world in 2019. The report, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and UK charity WRAP, equates that to 17% of all food available to consumers.

Read More Show Less
Producing avocado and almond crops is having a detrimental effect on bees. Molly Aaker / Getty Images

At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.

Read More Show Less
An oblique (left) and dorsal (right) photo of a female Pharohylaeus lactiferous. J.B. Dorey / Journal of Hymenoptera Research

Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.

Read More Show Less