April 22 is Earth Day
This Earth Day, we are celebrating our collective power to protect people and the planet.
Honouring our shared home means more than empty gestures and hollow promises — it demands urgent political action.
If we want a livable planet, we need to ask ourselves: who decides our climate future? Will it be the powerful lobbyists and insiders who have caused the interconnected economic, climate, health, and water crises we’re facing? Or will it be people and communities?
The answer is simple: We must decide.
Our provincial and federal governments have failed to match the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.
In its most recent budget, the federal government once again succumbed to magical thinking on the climate crisis. Rather than rolling out a plan to begin a managed wind-down of the fossil fuel industry, it doubled down on business as usual, giving more funding to big polluters and falling back on unproven technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage.
At this year’s Earth Day summit, Prime Minister Trudeau pledged to cut Canada’s emissions by 40-45 per cent by 2030. This is only a marginal improvement from Canada’s current commitments and far from the ambitious targets we need to meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement.
But while our leaders have failed to recognize the emergency we are in, the good news is that local communities are organizing to take things into their own hands and winning the transformative changes we need.
They are raising the bar on tackling the climate crisis by building their own local Green New Deals.
A Green New Deal is a transformational project that recognizes the urgency of our interlocking crises — including the climate emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing colonization, economic inequality, racism, unjust treatment of migrants, and other ways that our society makes people vulnerable — and the scale of change necessary to tackle them.
It is more than a policy: it’s an idea for massive societal transformation that has sparked movements around the world.
Let's take action and build a movement across Canada
Across Canada, the U.S., and the UK, 15 communities – a combined population of over 31 million people — have begun implementing local Green New Deals. In many cases, these programs are a central part of plans for a just recovery from the pandemic.
Three municipalities in Canada — Vancouver, Halifax, and Cumberland — have already won major victories in passing Green New Deals.
If you want your community to be the next one to build a local Green New Deal, get involved here.
Community organizing can have a decisive impact on local climate justice policies and plans.
Municipalities have control over activities that account for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. They can also apply upward pressure for climate justice on the provincial, territorial, and federal governments.
The more local Green New Deals we build, the closer we are to a safe climate future.
From coast to coast, there are many communities that have already made strides toward the kind of transformation we need to tackle the crises of the climate, racism, precarious work, and inequality. They just need to be woven together.
The Council of Canadians provides direct support for campaigns led by local organizers and movements. We connect communities in different places to learn and develop strategies together and tell the story of our Green New Deal to broader movements and audiences.
We’re taking a growing Green New Deal to politicians across the country and holding them accountable to the changes we know we need for a healthy future that includes all of us.
This Earth Day, we hope you take action to protect people and the planet by working towards a Green New Deal where you live.
Together, we are learning, making tangible change in our communities, and reclaiming political power for people and the planet. We hope you’ll join us.