Gordon Laxer says he wants people to see there is hope in a future free of fossil fuels.
Laxer, an author, political economist, University of Alberta professor emeritus and Parkland Institute founding director, spoke at Red Deer’s Welikoklad Centre on Thursday to discuss what’s next for Alberta, in regards to the creation of a green new deal.
“We had that incredible flood in 2013 in Calgary and area, the devastating forest fire in Fort McMurray. We are seeing the effects of climate change everywhere – in Alberta, the North and with the seas rising. We have to take it seriously,” said Laxer.
“But we have to address it in a way that is going to make life as good or better than it has been. We can see it as an opportunity and not just a threat.”
Laxer said “there will be no one left behind, there will be jobs for people.
“I know there are a lot of Albertans who are hurting – there’s been a lot of economic devastation here. We have to come up with a plan about how we’re going to make a transition that brings Alberta and all regions of Canada along,” he said.
Climate change is an urgent issue, said Christopher D’Lima, president of Red Deer’s chapter of The Council of Canadians, a social-action agency.
“There’s an old saying: ‘Climate change doesn’t care if you believe in it or not, it’s going to happen.’ So let’s be realistic and take a look at what other alternatives there are, rather than continuing on the same path,” said D’Lima.
“I agree, in Alberta especially, that it’s a job issue. However, people need to be more aware of new forms of energy – solar energy, wind energy – and new jobs will come as a result of it. It’s not job killing.”
D’Lima said it’s important to raise awareness of the impact fossil fuels have on the environment.
“There’s so much talk surrounding climate change and demonstrations … so I think it’s important people expand their knowledge in regards to what’s happening.
“We continue to use carbon and oil resources, but I believe we have to take a look at what’s coming next. These fuels aren’t going to last forever, so it’s important to take a look at the future of energy,” he said.