The upcoming federal election is the most important in my life so far. It’s the most important one in your life too.
Find out more about voting for the environment here.
I’ve been concerned about the state of the environment for a long time. I came of age in the ’90s, during a time of developing environmental awareness. I learned about acid rain, the hole in the ozone layer, deforestation in the Amazon. I allowed myself to believe our leaders had these problems under control. As the threats to the environment became scarier, I began to shy away from the alarming news I was hearing.
Then, in June of 2016, my daughter was born. It was a brutally hot summer, and I was doing everything I could to keep her comfortable. I started thinking about the world she would grow up in. Would it be one where extreme weather – heats waves and floods – would be the new normal? Would pollution get so bad that she wouldn’t be able to play outside without a mask? Extreme heat kills the very old and the very young. How would she keep her own baby safe?
As I became more concerned about my daughter’s future, I wanted to do something. But I found my fear was preventing me from taking action. I needed to find a way from fear to hope. I needed to believe a better future was possible.
An online support group helped. They’re called Good Grief Network and they’re doing vital work to help people suffering from eco-anxiety and grief. And as I began taking action my hope increased. I made some changes to my lifestyle – what I eat, how I travel. I started going to the Fridays for Future protests on my lunch break. I contacted my MPP and MP to demand that more be done to protect the environment. This last step was intimidating, but I reminded myself that these politicians ultimately work for me and that I’m not required to come to them with solutions already formulated. I can present my concerns and ask them to take leadership.
Individual action is important, but government action is even more important. To build a better future, we need governments that take strong action to protect the environment, reduce pollution and create cleaner jobs for Canadians.
If you care about the environment the most important thing you can do is vote. This will be a make-or-break election for environmental action. Vote for a candidate who will build a better and healthier future for us and for generations to come.
This election I’ll be voting with the environment top of mind. I hope you’ll join me, because we need everyone.
You can find out more about voting for the environment here.
- Dana Snell is a copy editor and parent from Scarborough