Jim Prentice’s photo smiled at us from above the entrance to his office. The environment minister wouldn’t have been smiling so broadly now, if he knew what pedal for the planet was up to. 20 banner waving activists cheered and chanted anti-Prentice messages.
The Canadian Government is consistently ranked at the bottom when it comes to climate action. Canada’s GHG emissions reduction target is only a 3 % reduction from 1990 levels, when many countries have promised to cut there emissions in the range of 25 – 40%. Last year Canada “won” the Colossal Fossil Award for embarrassing lack of action, and Canada is it’s best to defend the title.
Our press releases and pitch calls had succeeded in luring the media. The handful of reporters and camera people starred at the more eccentrically dressed of us with bemused expressions. Steve had become Windy the Unemployed Wind Turbine. Nadia and Martina were Climate Action Super Cyclists, with green tights and superman capes. Someone wore a Grim Reaper outfit; I wasn’t sure which politician he was impersonating.
“OK, now we’re going to rock the Constituency Office!” called Jeh. For Jeh, simple verbs such as enter or visit are too boring. When you’re with Jeh, you don’t go grocery shopping. You rock the grocery isles.
Our delegation rocked its’ way into Prentice’s office. Jeh rocked over to Prentice’s desk and placed a wad of papers on his desk. “OK, now we’re going to give you guys a chant!” announced Jeh, turning to one of Prentice’s aids.
“Sorry, but there are people taking calls from constituents. I’ll have to ask you to be quiet.”
“We understand, but we really want to give you this chant so…”
“Oooh, it’s hot in here, there’s too much carbon in the atmosphere!... When I say Jim you say where are you?... Jim!… Where are you?... Jim!... Where are you?...When I say Climate, you say action… Climate!…Action!... Climate!...Action!...
I guess that Jeh was right when he said we’d be rocking the constituency office.
Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.