Do the right thing for the planet

Do the right thing for the planet Open letter to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent: As the father of an 18-month-old son, I am so very concerned for his future in our world that I feel it necessary to contact you directly during COP17. Human-induc

Open letter to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent:

As the father of an 18-month-old son, I am so very concerned for his future in our world that I feel it necessary to contact you directly during COP17.

Human-induced climate change is resulting in more than a theoretical threat to all humans (and other species) on our planet. It is a very real consequence of the past century of reliance on fossil fuels that is now negatively and severely affecting many things important to the security of our future.

These major impacts will present us all with great challenges to food and water security, energy security, eco-system stability and, in particular, economic stability. In many regions these impacts will also lead to political instability and forced migrations. Important industries such as agriculture and insurance are already feeling major impacts of climate change. All of this is already happening to some degree in many parts of the world and such events are only increasing in frequency and intensity.

It is clear that difficult decisions must be made and that strong leadership with courage and vision will never be more important than now. Unfortunately, Canada is usually one of the last hold-outs in the negotiations to take action on human-induced climate change. This is not appropriate as Canadians recognize and accept that as major benefactors of the past century of fossil-fuel-driven developments in our society, we should be some of the first to take on serious commitments to drastically reduce GHG emissions in order to lead the way for developing nations to follow in due course.

As some of the largest per capita emitters in the world, Canadians have a responsibility to all global citizens to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lead the way in doing so, transition to sustainable economic and energy models, and to share the technologies that will achieve these important objectives. Many economists already agree that the cost of taking action to mitigate and adapt to climate change is well below that which is expected to be required if we do not take action. In fact, taking action now will not only save money, it will also lead to a better society and superior (and sustainable) systems of trade, transport and energy supply and demand.

We know that serious impacts are coming and can choose to prepare or to ignore the science. Not taking action to prepare and mitigate leaves all global citizens at the whims of a natural system that will not consider our well-being in finding a new equilibrium.

Our lack of action and investment in the future for our children is an unforgivable act and your presence at COP17 is Canada’s opportunity to accept the extreme nature of the current situation and to do the right thing. Canadians are eager to take on the challenge, given workable options and appropriate leadership from our elected officials.

The world is in a dire situation and this is a plea for my son’s well-being. I do not want him to grow up in this emerging atmosphere of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Please, for the sake of our children and for the sake of a sustainable future for all people of our fair planet, do the right thing and commit to substantial GHG emission reductions without conditions that weaken the deal or force it to fail. The future of humanity is in your hands!

Sean MacKinnon


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

Local poet Joanna Lilley is photographed at the Beringia Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 20, where she will be hosting a poetry workshop on Jan. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Poetry for the ages

Workshop set for the Yukon Beringia Centre

President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C. The administration announced plans Jan. 20 for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Gwich’in. (Alex Brandon/AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden halts oil and gas lease sales in ANWR

“Its great to have an ally in the White House”

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Most Read