A year of uncertainty, underemployment, upheaval, and not enough understanding
When I first heard about the “novel coronavirus”, it was December 2019 and I wasn’t in Canada. I was living in Denmark, with my partner, and doing the research for my master’s thesis on sorbent filter soils. My career path and plans for the next 1-2 years were carefully laid out and promising.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
It’s been almost a year since I arrived back in Canada. (And I should note that that too was fraught – my flight was delayed a week by Storm Dennis, one of the worst cyclones ever to strike northern Europe and whose intensity was tied to climate change). In this year, we’ve seen a widening of the wealth gap into a yawning chasm, massive protests in response to racial inequality and police brutality, multiple land defender and other Indigenous resistance movements, far-right extremism and violence, and, of course, a global pandemic.
More insidious things happened in Ontario; alongside land defender protests at Grand River, the status of migrant workers in the province was brought to light and the Ontario government quietly rolled back environmental protections. In April 2020, Doug Ford’s government added an exemption to the Environmental Bill of Rights that suspended the requirement for public consultation on proposals for laws, policies, regulations, and projects of any level of environmental significance. Ministries also did not have to comply with the Statements of Environmental Values, which are a set of policies that guide ministry decision-making where the environment may be affected. While this exemption was repealed in June due to backlash, other environmental rollbacks were passed under other acts and bills. These included, among other things, significant changes to the powers of Conservation Authorities under the Conservation Authorities Act. (A full explanation of this and the history of environmental and climate change policy in Ontario will be given in subsequent posts).
Like a sensible person, all of this makes me furious. However, I made the mistake of choosing the environmental sector for my education and career, and I have been underemployed for the past year. At a certain point, I got sick of beating my head against the wall and shouting at my news apps and decided that I should shout on the internet instead. This is the purpose of Adapt Ontario.
This blog is for me, but it is mostly for you. It will be a mix of things, but all will relate back to ideas related to a more resilient, climate-friendly, and adaptable Ontario. Its chief purpose will be to break down and explain climate policies and scientific innovations, which can be dry at best and downright inscrutable at worst. Here and there will also be articles on gardening, design, permaculture, wildlife and botany, and climate-friendly recipes.