Open letter to the Council of Canadian Ministers of the Environment

We welcome Environment Minister Jim Prentice and provincial and territorial environment ministers to the Yukon. During your stay we hope you have an opportunity to experience and appreci

We welcome Environment Minister Jim Prentice and provincial and territorial environment ministers to the Yukon.

During your stay we hope you have an opportunity to experience and appreciate the value of the Yukon’s wilderness and its importance to all Canadians. The boreal forest serves a vital function as a carbon sink, but global climate change is compromising the forest’s ability to capture and store carbon naturally.

The Yukon environment is under threat from unsustainable development. Greenhouse gases from carbon-intensive activities cause climate change, and the North is already experiencing the impacts of a changing climate. We know that without committed and serious action now, these impacts could become too great for our capacity to adapt.

The situation is urgent and requires immediate action. Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it is a political, military, economic, social and human health issue. Current measures to address the crisis of climate change are inadequate. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions should be the goal of your every action and decision. 

When you return to your jurisdictions, please ensure all your colleagues are aware the Yukon and all of Canada’s ecosystems are at risk unless greenhouse gas emissions are quickly and drastically reduced. It is imperative that all levels of government set targets to reduce greenhouse gases and implement action plans to meet them.

As environment ministers, you must protect the environment even in times of economic uncertainty. Please do not allow infrastructure projects to override responsible assessment and development during this economic recession. Canada must seize the opportunity the current economic downturn presents to invest in sustainable energy and transition to a low carbon economy.

We hope you enjoy your stay in the North, and we hope the decisions you make here will be a credit to future generations.

Yukon Conservation Society, Raven Recycling Society, Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE), Conservation Klondike Society, Alpine Bakery