Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday Afternoon Links

 Assorted content to end your week.

- Karon Liu offers a basic primer on how to avoid contributing to the second wave of the coronavirus. And the Canadian Teachers' Federation surveys how educators and students have been - and continue to be - affected by COVID-19.

- CUPE is encouraging Saskatchewan's votes to cast their ballots with an eye toward the importance of public services. Adam Hunter reports on the doubling of Saskatchewan's MRI wait-list as the Sask Party's move toward privatized health care predictably did nothing to improve access in the public system. And CBC News reports on the likelihood that Scott Moe's choice to intercept federal CERB funding will end up leaving people homeless.  

- Brian Bethune talks to Michael Sandel about how the language of meritocracy contributes to ongoing (and indeed increasing) inequity.

- Finally, Emily Eaton and Simon Enoch examine how a move toward a renewable Regina can align with the goals of reducing poverty and inequality. And Seth Klein discusses the need to deal with the climate crisis and inequality together:

(C)limate policy purists are wrong. The rebuttal is two-fold.

First, these issues are actually deeply intertwined. Lower income people and countries are more vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. Those with higher incomes and wealth have greater GHG emissions. Conversely, many climate action policies impact lower-income people harder, and thus these impacts must be mitigated.

And second, it is only by linking these issues that we win over and mobilize broad popular support. We cannot ask people to separate their fears about the climate crisis from the other affordability anxieties, economic pressures and systemic crises they face. At a very basic level, inequality undermines trust that “we are all in this together.”

Many doubt that the task at hand will be undertaken in a manner that is fair. It is hard to rally the public if many believe the rich are merely buying their way out of making change—fortifying their homes, walling their communities or purchasing carbon offsets in the hope that others will lower their actual emissions. Equally troubling is a cultural narrative that sees climate action as part of an elite project in which the poor or those currently working in the fossil fuel sector are expendable. 


High levels of inequality undermine social cohesion and promote social divisions, rather than building the social and political trust needed to chart a future based on a sense of shared fate. If climate policies are not perceived as fair, public support will not be sustained, and political determination will shrink accordingly.

The more a robust climate action plan is linked to an exciting plan to tackle poverty and inequality, along with a hopeful and convincing jobs plan, the more we maximize public support. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.


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