Many climate scientists and science communicators recognize that a massive shift in thinking and feeling about our relationship with the natural world will need to occur if we are to effectively combat the climate crisis. They know that science will not be able to solve this alone, but that stories and other forms of art will be critical in order to shift the narrative from the dominant mythology of limitless consumption to sustainability. Climate scientist Elin Kelsey in Hope Matters writes, “We can choose the stories we live. We are shaped by the stories we tell. Hope lies in the capacity of stories to transform.” (102). Imagining is key. So, here are some what ifs that occurred to me, without regard to cost or practicality. Please add yours!
We bought heat pumps in bulk and installed them in our houses to replace natural gas? (large rebates are available)?
We developed a complete network of bike paths extending throughout the city with lockable bike boxes at multiple key locations?
We had e-bikes for rent at stations throughout the city as various cities like Montreal and Lethbridge already do?
We had a crown corporation to produce cheap vehicles, perhaps driverless, that we could call up on demand, powered by electricity or hydrogen or solar, or a combination?
We recycled everything right here in B.C., or even in Kamloops, so that none of our waste went anywhere else?
We had a light rail system to connect the north and south shores? What if we had electric or hydrogen trains running from Kamloops to Vancouver and Kamloops through Vernon down the Okanagan, using the track that already runs along Hwy. 97 (and is rarely used)?
We had high speed electric rail across the country – we could divert fossil fuel subsidies to this?
We restricted air travel – to one essential trip per year? And banned short haul flights like France has done, at least until electric planes are available?
Employers offered incentives to employees who took public or active transport to work?
We formed an Environmental Corps as part of our young people’s education – 1 year after high school – working on environmental solutions?
We actually implemented the Tobin tax: a proposed tax on international financial transactions, especially speculative currency exchange transactions in order to fund green energy initiatives?
We got aquamation made legal here in B.C. Aquamation is a gentle process that uses water instead of fire to return a body back to Mother Nature – used by Bishop Desmond Tutu?
We put a valuation on natural assets like forests and wetlands in order to make financial arguments to invest in, protect and restore these ecosystems?
Kamloops rebranded itself as the most livable, environmentally friendly community in B.C.?
Berry, Thomas. The Great Work, 1999.
Erica Chenoweth, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, 2011.
Kelsey, Elin. Hope Matters. Why Changing the Way We Think is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis, 2020.
Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass. Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. 2013.
Klein, Seth. A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, 2020.
Korten, David C. Change the Story. Change the Future. A living Economy for a Living Earth, 2015.
MacKinnon, J.B. The Day the World Stops Shopping: how ending consumerism saves the environment and ourselves. 2021.
Mann, Michael. The New Climate War. The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, 2021.
Neidhardt, Joe and Nicole Neidhardt. Indigenous Knowledge and a Call to Action for Climate Change. 2018.
Solnit, Rebecca. Hope in the Dark. Untold histories. Wild Possibilities, 2016.
Turner, Chris. How to be A Climate Optimist. Blueprints for a Better World, 2022.
Active Hope Foundations Training. www.activehope.training
AquamationBC Coalition https://www.aquamationbc.ca/
Eating Our Way to Extinction. A film that provokes us to question our everyday choices in eating. Featuring a wealth of world-renowned contributors including Sir Richard Branson and Tony Robbins, it has a message of hope that will empower audiences.
2040. With 2040, documentarian Damon Gameau entertainingly surveys possible solutions to the climate change crisis, offering an unusually optimistic way