As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Earthkeepers are compelled to speak out on the concurrent crises of wealth inequality, racism and climate change.
Recently, our sister Monica Tang on behalf of Earthkeepers, sent a letter to members on the federal Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology where she argued that the Canadian response to COVID-19 must be centred around Just Recovery principles.
Earthkeepers’ call for Just Recovery echoes endorsements made by over 400 organizations and thousands of other people across the country.
Here is the full letter:
Canadian Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Members of The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology,
My name is Monica Tang, the current chair of the Christian grassroots citizens’ group, Earthkeepers:Christians for Climate Justice and I’m reaching out from Vancouver, BC to urge the Federal Governmentthat as you take steps to ensure a long-term recovery from COVID-19, it is imperative that you considerthe interrelated crises of wealth inequality, racism, and climate change. This is our chance to chart a path toa healthier, more equitable future. Don’t let this chance to build back better pass us by.
At Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice, we believe that the natural world has an intrinsic integrity of its own, that all peoples deserve to be treated with dignity, and that the rights of Indigenous peoples should be upheld and respected.
The recent Covid-19 crisis has shown that the public health crisis and the climate crisis are related – the air we pollute makes us more susceptible to airborne and respiratory diseases; the destruction of habitat through deforestation exposes us to new and different zoonotic viruses; and our failure to be good stewards of the earth’s climate has exacerbated natural disasters that will severely test our resiliency. Just a few weeks of shutting down the current economic system have shown its impacts on thenatural world – cleaner air in major cities being an example.
The Covid-19 crisis has also exposed flaws and weaknesses in the current economic system – incomeinequality is growing in Canada, social safety nets are precarious, and the most vulnerable amongst us,including the homeless, seniors in care homes, migrant workers, are among those most vulnerable tomass infections.
I urge you to create your plans based on the Just Recovery principles that have been endorsed by over400 organizations, and have the support of thousands of people across the country, including myself:
★ Put people’s health and wellbeing first, no exceptions.
★ Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people.
★ Prioritize the needs of workers and communities.
★ Build resilience to prevent future crises.
★ Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders.
★ Uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples.
We believe that these principles of sustainability, resiliency, and stability as the ones to rebuild the economy around. They are also consistent with the principles that our group, Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice, promotes in our education and advocacy. Climate-sincere policies are critical to responsibly stewarding the earth, and coupled with supports for workers and communities, will support the vulnerable and least of these amongst us.
The policy decisions that you make should reflect these principles as we recover from the COVID-19pandemic. If taken with the seriousness they deserve, they can set us on a path to a made-in-Canada Green New Deal that creates millions of good jobs, builds stronger communities andtackles the climate crisis. We know that a Green New Deal is the only plan that meets the scale andurgency that climate and justice demands.
As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis and prepare to rebuild, people and organizations all across Canada want our governments to know that we cannot go back to the way things were. For years, we have witnessed the results of chronic underinvestment and inaction in the face of the ongoing crises of colonialism, human rights abuses, social inequity, ecological degradation, and climate change. Now, the COVID-19 crisis is forcing governments and civil society alike to reckon with the inadequacies and inequities of our systems.
This moment is a reminder that the status quo can and must be disrupted. We are standing on the threshold between the old world and the next and we must choose to build the future we want.
Your work can either be a catalyst or barrier to that change.
We can’t go back to business-as-usual. We cannot recover from the current crisis by re-entrenching systems that will cause the next crisis.
I am personally committed to taking action for a Just Recovery. Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice is committed to educating and advocating for a just renewal amongst the Christian faith community and this will be a central piece of our ministry in the coming years. We have been and will continue to pray for your decision-making processes, your government, and our country of Canada, and for a just renewal that supports the poor and vulnerable and sustainable stewardship of the earth, our common home.
Now it’s your turn to do what it takes to enact a Just Recovery that lays the foundation for a Green New Deal for Canada.
Monica Tang, Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice