"Mommy's Going to Save the Climate"

The night before I left for Bali I heard my two boys talking in their bunk beds, "I hate it when Mommy goes away." said Quinn(4). "I know but
Mommy's going to save the climate." said Forrest (8).


Forrest's confidence in me was crushing and motivating at the same time. I was reminded of
hearing Barbara Kingsolver interviewed years ago on the radio about how she stays motivated and hopeful in the face of such huge environmental
challenges.

Her reply has come back to me again and again as I have sat devastated reading the reports coming out of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the past two years. "I am a parent," she said. "And therefore hope is the only moral choice."

So it is with a renewed sense of purpose and hope that I find myself in Bali this evening preparing
to engage in what I believe is the most important conversation in the world.

A conversation that will not only shape my children's future but will decide the fate of millions of people and the ecosystems we depend on all over the world.

Ironically, the day I left we were hit with yet another freak storm rolling in over the pacific that knocked out power lines, took down trees and left
our little island and much of the west coast of Canada blanketed in a thick carpet of snow.

Snow is unusual in that part of the country and many of the coastal communities are ill prepared to deal with it. I am lucky to live in a small community that I have watched band together many times over the past two years to deal with the long power outages, blocked roads and cancelled
ferries.

In the early light of the morning a neighbor came to my rescue with a 4 by 4 and a chainsaw to clear the road and get me to the dock so that I could begin my long journey from Canada to Indonesia. We laughed about battling the weird weather to get me to a climate change conference, the moment bitter sweet as the reality of the enormity of the challenges we all face in the coming years staring at us through the wind sheild.

Last month the IPCC reported for the first time that a 2 degree warming is now "unavoidable" and will lead to "catastrophic climate change" - droughts
in some regions, floods in others, fires, food shortages and a dramatic increase in hurricanes. There is no question that mitigating and adapting
to climate change is the challenge of our age and that the discussions that have just begun in Bali will play a huge part in defining whether we can
work quickly to reduce the damage we are doing and retool society for a low carbon future.

As a Canadian I come to Bali with the knowledge that short weeks ago under the Harper government "leadership" we scuttled the potential
of a significant agreement at the Commonwealth talks that would have committed so many countries to strong mandatory reductions in fossil fuel
emissions. I am also painfully aware that we are one of the only countries that has reneged on our commitments under the Kyoto protocol and are now
balking at new commitments. I do believe that we need global agreements that all countries participate in but Harpers stance that we won't commit until other developing nations commit - specifically China is appalling.

Shall we hold off having democratic elections until China does as well? It does seem clear that the Harper government is not particularly concerned
with democracy or at least in representing the public. For over a year the polls have shown that global warming is the most important issue to
Canadians and that we want strong action. Yet the 'Tar Sands Tories' persist in pushing 'intensity' targets and 'aspirational goals' at a time
when the science is screaming for us to move quickly and enact strong legislative change.

The conversations started for me the second I landed in Bali as conference delegates found each other in the baggage claim and the visa lines. Before I had even collected my baggage I had given out several copies of, "Stupid to the Last Drop" by William Marsden (Random House has donated 100 books for me to distribute in Bali to raise awareness of the devastating impact of Canada's rapidly expanding tar sands see the press release at
www.forestethics.org.

For some really good reports on the tar sands see

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