As we prepare to enter the third decade of the 21st century we must ask ourselves, how does our generation want to be defined and remembered.

We are in a unique position as the first to experience massive impacts from climate change, but we will also be the last to have the opportunity to save humanity from the catastrophic impacts of runaway climate change. It sounds dire but there is hope.

The solutions have been identified and we know what we need to do to limit climate change to the 1.5 C that the world’s climate scientists insist is necessary to maintain a healthy planet. We know it won’t be easy, and there will be losers and winners. We also must understand that technology won’t save us, it will be a big part of the solution but so will a return to ways of the past that we have unfortunately gotten away from.

What is the game plan to save the planet? There have been numerous pathways identified. Project Drawdown is an example which highlights 100 ways to take a bite out of climate change. Even in the NWT, Alternatives North has developed a doable 100 per cent renewable plan for the territories. These game plans are great but the real answer is that we need leadership, leadership to guide us, to make the big decisions, to take chances, to stand up to the status quo, and demand changes that some people and industry may not like.

When you think about the solutions, this is not even all about climate change. These ideas will also lead to cleaner air, cleaner water, save millions of species from possible extinction, create healthier people, and improve equality. Some examples of the needed transformations include: regenerative agriculture, large-scale tree-planting efforts, rapid electrification of transportation, (cars, trucks, ships and planes), retrofitting buildings, and renewable energy. Most importantly we need to value nature for what she does for humanity and the planet, and price pollution into the cost of everything to allow human ingenuity and innovation to come up with solutions.

We are an amazing species, we have evolved to survive and prosper in virtually every habitat on the planet. We are diverse, and intelligent, caring and thoughtful, and today we face the biggest challenge we have ever faced as a species. We have also shown we can come together to solve big problems in a peaceable way. The ozone layer, acid rain, and nuclear proliferation are examples.

We all have a role to play but we need to demand that our leaders lead us out of this mess, nothing less will do.

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