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Ecojustice For Our Environment

Environmental law organization turns up the heat on climate change

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Ecojustice For Our Environment

What comes to mind when you hear phrases such as climate change, environmental protection, and sustainability? For many, this can be an overwhelming subject to consider, but it’s one we need to get real about—real fast. There’s a lot of talk these days about climate change and the environment. More than just alarmist propaganda, these reports demonstrate the dangers we face as global citizens, and this has sparked widespread concern about what is being done and how we can help. The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contained dire news: our earth is rapidly losing its ability to sustain us. From rapidly melting ice caps and rising rates of soil erosion to an ever-expanding population, increasing carbon emissions, and escalating amounts of waste, our planet has never been more in need of urgent action.

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Canada’s temperature is rising

When we joined the Paris Agreement in 2015, Canada committed to working toward a global temperature rise limit of 1.5 C. However, Canadian government scientists recently concluded, in Canada’s Changing Climate Report, that we’ve well surpassed this rise limit. Canada’s past and future warming is, on average, about twice the rate of the rest of the world, with northern Canada almost three times the global average.

Ecojustice is challenging these and other environmental issues directly by “using the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.”

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Founded with purpose

In 1990, determined to make a difference and driven by a desire to harness the law to preserve the environment, a group of lawyers created Ecojustice to represent determined clients in three predominant areas of concern: nature, climate change, and healthy communities.

Since then, Ecojustice has set dozens of precedents and accumulated a number of important victories in areas such as wild salmon protection, federal jurisdiction over climate change action, and protection of communities against the transportation of coal, among many more.

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Aimed at fundamental change

Ecojustice executive director Devon Page believes polluters and governments that fail to uphold the rule of law when it comes to the environment must be held accountable. To that end, Ecojustice lawyers represent Indigenous communities, grassroots community coalitions, municipalities, landowners, and environmental organizations of all sizes in cases that have the potential to make a real difference in terms of policy and environmental laws.

According to Page, it’s understandable that people are worried about climate change, the future of the environment, and the biodiversity of the planet, given the increased level of media attention of these topics. However, he also says, “There is a positive to take away from this: there is more awareness than ever in what is happening around us.”

Check out this article for 6 practical ways you can help create change for our environment.

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Justice with heart

Although not without some critics, Page and the other Ecojustice lawyers, donors, volunteers, online advocates, and clients on the frontline of environmental movements believe that “strong, well-enforced laws and scientific evidence are the best tools we have to protect wilderness and wildlife … and to keep climate change-causing fossil fuels in the ground.”

If you would like to learn more about Ecojustice, visit ecojustice.ca.

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A version of this article was published in the December 2019 issue of alive Canada  with the title “Ecojustice for our Environment.”
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