We're in the midst of an election, so people ask us how they should vote. We had decided, when we began planning this walk, that we would continue in case of an election because it would be a way to have an impact at election time. So it's an important question. Here's my answer:
1. To evaluate the parties, go to the Sierra Club site at
They have a voter's guide to the elections with a report card on all the parties.
***update*** I've been alerted to the fact that Greenpeace also has an evaluation of the parties, coordinated with the Sierra Club, which can be accessed here:
2. To evaluate your candidates, go to the Kyoto Plus site and look at the candidates list here:
If more than one candidate in your riding has signed onto Kyoto Plus, ask them why. The wholehearted endorsers will give this crisis more attention than those who are reluctant.
3. To vote strategically, go to a site that identifies a strategic environmental pick in every riding:
I'm not necessarily promoting strategic voting because it has pitfalls as well as advantages. Still, a lot of Canadians vote strategically because the democratic system is broken, and if you vote strategically, you might as well make an informed decision.
But finally, what's really important to me is that you don't stop at the election. It's tempting to feel that you vote for the person you feel will take care of you so that you can go on with your life. In this case though, politicians are just not taking care of you. No Canadian government ever has done enough for this crisis, and there's every reason to believe that the proposals of every one of our national parties today will fall significantly short of what is eventually needed. Every week brings new bad news indicating that the climate is more sensitive than we believed.
And yet, real solutions are within reach. And they will provide tangible benefits such as
- an economy prepared to benefit from the end of fossil fuels rather than being at risk of suffering.
- the fundamentals of life (food and shelter) reoriented for preparation for the future instead of at risk of collapsing.
- fresher air, drinkable water, safe food.
- reduced reliance on foreign imports
- a healthy local economy
- safer streets
- a reduction in noise pollution
- a reduction in asthmas and other health problems
- a reduction in government spending on health and environmental mitigation
What's more, tell your elected representative to work productively with other parties. Part of the reason we're not getting enough action on climate change is that every party wants to take credit for the best plan. Progress is more important than perfection. Bickering is getting us nowhere, it only confuses people.
So vote thoughtfully, but pledge to yourself to hold your government representatives accountable.
At the end of today's walking, we walked into a stunning rainbow and suddenly clear skies and blazing sunshine. I'm feeling hopeful.