SCAN’s Climate Action Awareness Campaign (SCAN) is a 14-day virtual event scheduled on social media from March 1 – 14, 2021. The topic is Climate Change – Adaptation and Mitigation with a spotlight on Bill C-230 (National Strategy to redress environmental racism Act). SCAN (Sustainable Community Aid Network) is a Canadian non-profit organization established in August 2009. It aims to address Sustainability (Environmental, Social and Economic) issues affecting racialized/visible minority communities in Canada.
Urgency needed in tackling Climate Change and Bill C-230
Imagine a situation where part of our eco-system is ailing. The rest at risk bearing in mind that the eco-system consists of people and the environment, where all living things and non-living things reside, and our sustenance comes. This scenario is our current situation, and we should be panicking and taking urgent steps to mitigate the problem. This scenario is causing global warming, leading to changes in our climate (Climate Change). In the course of the campaign, Bill C-230 will be highlighted as an example of a Climate Change Mitigation (Abatement) measure, showing Bill C-230’s need to be passed. We should understand that though the Blacks, Indigenous and other racialized communities located in affected areas are targets of environmental racism, everyone else outside of that location is at risk. This risk is rising from the fact that the government inactions due to environmental racism leads to Climate Change.
Environmental Racism leads to Climate Change
There are quite a few examples of government inaction due to environmental racism that leads to Climate Change. Still, I will highlight only two cases in two Canadian provinces.
Environmental Racism towards a black community living in Lincolnville, Nova Scotia
The video above showcases the government’s inaction in dealing with environmental issues, leading to numerous health issues experienced in the Black community in Lincolnville, Nova Scotia. In the video, James Desmond talks about a first-generation landfill site, which was just a hole in the ground, contains all sorts of toxic substances, including cancer causing substances like Polychlorinated Biphenyls PCBs. The government dug the Landfill (hole) close to the black community with no checks and balances. The run-off from the site has been going directly into the environment and harming their eco-system for decades. The municipality has done nothing about it. In 2003, the municipality had planned to construct a second-generation landfill site in the same community. Though propagated to be an environmentally sound landfill, they had no plans to deal with the first-generation landfill site. This lack of care is very distinct from how the Britannia Landfill site in Mississauga, Ontario is managed.
Environmental racism leads to Climate Change. For instance, in addition to the toxic substances released from the first-generation landfill in Sarnia to land and water, methane gas is released into the atmosphere. Do you know that methane is a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat 28 times more effectively than carbon dioxide over a 100-year timescale? In simple terms, methane can cause climate change faster than Carbon dioxide(CO2) could. Sadly, it is left to sip into the atmosphere uncontrolled.
Environmental Racism towards an Indigenous community living in Sarnia, Ontario
Another instance of environmental racism leading to climate change is linked to an indigenous community, the Aamjiwnaang Community in Sarnia, Ontario. In 2017, the Global News teamed up with Toronto Star to investigate a troubling trend of leaks and spills in Sarnia, Ontario’s Chemical Valley. The investigation showed that the Aamjiwnaang Community in Sarnia, Ontario, is experiencing serious health challenges from Volatile Organic Compound (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene). The VOS is associated with oil and natural gas development in their community. These particular VOCs are linked indirectly to Climate change. They react with other gases prevalent in the atmosphere and with sunlight to form ground-level ozone, which traps heat acting as a greenhouse gas that leads to climate change. These chemicals impact the nervous system, neurological, and reproductive systems. Benzene is known to cause cancer, and ethylbenzene and xylene can cause respiratory problems.
A CNN article describes Canada as a Climate Hypocrite. This description is because Canada is a self-proclaimed Climate leader but is still pouring taxpayers’ dollars into producing and developing new fossil fuel projects. Fossil fuel being the leading cause of climate change with serious health consequences. Environmental racism happens worldwide, which is very sad. The vulnerable people sacrificed for the greater good, but whose greater good?
Support SCAN’s Climate Action Awareness Campaign
The purpose of SCAN’s Virtual Climate Action Awareness Campain is to raise awareness of climate change challenges and their solutions in Canada, especially in Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities. This campaign supports Bill – C230 (National strategy to redress environmental racism) and wants to see it passed.
I invite you to support SCAN’s virtual Climate Action Awareness Campaign and join in the discussion come March 1 – 14, 2021. “Tweet “, “Retweet”, “like”, “share” and “follow” all the social media handles using these hashtags: #SCANClimateAction, #SCANClimateAction and #EnvRacismBillCanada2021. The handles are as follows: Facebook &LinkedIn: Sustainable Community Aid Network; Twitter: @s_can_org; Instagram: @sustainablecommunityaid. The more we engage in the discussions using hashtags, the more our voices will be heard.
I want your support in any way possible, including spreading the word before March 1, 2021. Do you want a front-row seat in driving this campaign? Then be a partner. You can be a sponsor/financial partner or Media partner. For more information on the partnership, go here. I look forward to a great campaign!