I have been watching in horror as the Green Party of Canada has been tearing itself apart over divisive identity politics and leadership styles on the eve of an election. The coming election will shape the government that will control the rebuilding of our country with the most substantial infrastructure investments we will likely see in our lifetimes. With the worst drought in 1 200 years gripping our continent and a pandemic raging, we stand on the doorstep of an age of dire climate consequence. As we cross this threshold from prediction to reality, the voice of Greens has never been more important.
So why, when the stakes are so high, have we descended into infighting over what divides us? Greens are critical thinkers; we reject the idea that hope is lost, we reject the idea that humanity is unable to alter its fate. We embrace the idea that humanity is capable of building an ecologically sustainable, green future and that our children will flourish and not be subject to hardship and misery.
In imagining this future, our vision is of societies where social justice is manifest, and racism, sexism, prejudice and violence are gone, and the world is preserved and restored. It is a big dream and its inherent inclusiveness is such that many are drawn to it and see reflected in it the solutions and change they believe in.
We are a party whose tent is so large Zionists and Palestinians have found themselves in it. One would think that an issue so important that Zionists and Palestinians could stand shoulder to shoulder within it, would have undeniable popular appeal, yet we still hover around the margins of our history. We are in a battle for our future and that of our children. We are in a struggle against the sixth great extinction event, rising levels of environmental toxicity and against the continued assault on the mechanisms that have created an anomalous window in the history of climate stability.
Unfortunately, in this age of identity factions, we are forgetting that we are all Greens first. We have fallen victim to the increasing political polarization in our society and have allowed it to divide us.
We desperately need politics that are inclusive enough to earn the popular appeal required to gain democratically elected power. Being inclusive is hard for Greens because we are deeply critical and deeply motivated by our ethical codes. We all compete for moral high ground and get lost in ideals. We are far from a party of pragmatists. We have fallen for the trap of promising everything from the safety of the backbenches.
We need to be the crystal clear, certain and rock solid voice of environmentalism in Canada first. We need to narrow the band of focus, and with laser-like precision speak for the Earth. We should have broad statements of our values regarding social and foreign policy, but let other parties define themselves by these issues. We need to be the kind of one-issue party that both a Zionist and Palestinian, a vegan and hunter, a lion and lamb can all sit down together in agreement that the age of climate consequence requires us to unite or perish.
As a society, we must become resilient, and proactively and inclusively prepare for disaster, pandemic and hardship. We must become a society united in our protection of our water and natural world. We must transform our infrastructure, economies and agriculture, reduce our impact, and improve our resilience in ways that make a future worth living for all of us.
Some say that social justice must come first and will lead to environmental justice. However, it is the empires, oligarchs and corporate cartels that lobby and lock us into these entrenched identity conflicts so that they can continue with their ecocidal, greed-driven agendas. If we focus on environmental justice with every word, every breath and every intention, if we dream of a world where future generations take pause to admire our foresight, if we paint a picture and plan a path that the oil worker and eco-warrior can see their roles in, we start to close the rifts between us and realize that social justice is a seed that grows in the fertile soil of hope and opportunity.
I call for a Green Party of Canada that speaks for the Earth first, and has faith that in breaking the engines of carnage that threaten humanity and our living world, we will build a future that is just and free.