Changemakers

Changemakers come in many guises, and not all of them make changes for the better. Some are brutal authoritarians, others are leaders who adopt policies with negative consequences, yet others are influencers who lobby for change that favours them or seed misinformation and doubt.

Those pressing for change in the green movement also take many forms, from the politicians who press for better public policy to the researchers and academics who address issues facing our world, the activists who take to the streets for human rights or the forests to protect our old-growth, and the individuals who adopt lifestyles consistent with a finite planet.

Yet their individual efforts may be futile - a case of “winning the battle, but losing the war,” if we fail to keep our eyes on the big picture and pursue a vision for Canada and the rest of the world where people’s social needs are met within the environmental boundaries of our planet.

What I am saying is that these actions need to be part of a complete package. It is not enough to stop using plastic bags or drinking straws or drive around feeling smug in our electric car or get arrested protesting the pipeline. We must avoid giving the impression that by doing these things, it is job done! They are steps in the right direction - important steps. Necessary, but not sufficient. And we need to be wary of suggesting that incremental changes are enough. I often refer to such actions as “better mousetraps.”

But, to be changemakers, we need “game-changers,” by that, I mean a person or something that dramatically changes the course of events, like Jesus Christ, the steam engine, or COVID-19. We must continue our pursuit of a better mousetrap, but at the same time be prepared to embrace change and live our lives very differently.

And we must facilitate and promote that change through the political process by supporting the campaigns of those with the courage to speak up for the planet and people. Electing the same old suspects from the same old parties and expecting different results seems to fit within the definition of insanity.