Hi! I’m Kim Auclair, an average Canadian with an inquisitive mind and a growing awareness of environmental issues. In recent years, I’ve been making a daily effort to adopt lifestyle changes that help protect our planet. And I admit that, when I was asked to write the editorials for the 22nd annual Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, I hesitated at first to accept. Since the theme involved different aspects of the environment (climate change and the social, community and cultural environment), I wondered if I was really the best person to discuss the topic. I’m not an expert – in fact, I’m just a beginner in this area. But when I stopped to think about it, I realized that I actually represented a lot more people than I thought …
From awareness to action
My growth in awareness began with a friend who reminded me over and over how important it was to take concrete actions every day – whether they involved taking care of myself, others, my culture or my language. She often told me, for example, to carry my own water bottle with me. Her conscientious lifestyle choices inspired me to do my part. I began to sort through all my belongings and give away books and clothing to people who needed them. Since I love creative projects, I also recycled and reused objects that could serve as decorative items or paint jars. And I enrolled in a free community centre course on creating comic strips. This activity gives me the chance to grow personally, because I spend time with people whose backgrounds are different from mine.
“I began to sort through all my belongings and give away books and clothing to people who needed them.”
With my new-found awareness, I began to read more about climate change, which is happening at a faster rate and on a larger scale than ever before. I realized that the need for urgent action stems from the growing levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere. In fact, according to the report on climate change in Canada, the global mean surface temperature (GMST) increased by about 0.85 °C between 1880 and 2012. Who’s responsible for this increase in the earth’s temperature? We human beings.
Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue President
Notable calls for action
A 2019 CROP poll reveals that one out of every three Canadians (32%) is strongly committed to doing all they can to reduce their ecological footprint. That’s a startling number. Barely six years ago, the proportion was one out of every four. Since that time, the number has been steadily increasing, particularly as a result of calls for action from public figures throughout the world.
Within the Francophonie, Boucar Diouf is a good example. In his La Presse article “Make America Greta Again?”, he states that a change in behaviour is needed to reduce consumption, because human beings are inherently individualistic. He believes that each person has to find the path to self-control to suppress the bursts of cerebral dissatisfaction that we inherited as part of our evolution. At the international level, Leonardo DiCaprio and Greta Thunberg have also spoken out.
In 2016, a year after the official signing of the Paris Agreement on climate, DiCaprio released Before the Flood, a free documentary showing how humanity is permanently destroying the natural assets that have helped to stabilize the earth’s climate in the past. In 2019, he continued his calls to action on behalf of the environment by collaborating with the director Leila Conners to produce Ice on Fire, a documentary on global warming and ways to eradicate it.
In 2018, Greta’s speech outside the Swedish parliament struck a chord with people around the world and launched a social movement in support of the cause. Named 2019’s person of the year by Time magazine, the 16-year-old succeeded in conveying the problems linked to climate change with passion and simplicity.
President and CEO, NAV CANADA
NAV CANADA is pleased once again to be an official sponsor of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. This year’s focus on the environment resonates with NAV CANADA and its employees, and we are proud to support our Francophone communities in creating change for a sustainable climate. As Canada’s air navigation service provider, we are committed to supporting the aviation industry by reducing our environmental impacts as Canadians fly from coast to coast. We also value Canada’s diversity and are proud to celebrate the important role of our Francophone communities across the country. I wish you all a wonderful time at this year’s celebration. Bons Rendez-vous!
The contribution of the Francophonie
Francophones, who account for 22.9% of Canada’s population, are generating more and more strategies for sustainable development. For example, RDÉE Canada and its members support the implementation of environmental projects. The organization notes that in 2020, markets associated with a green economy are estimated to be worth US$2.7 billion, or 2.1% of the global GDP.
If you’re wondering about the best way to leave a positive footprint for the future, I have a suggestion! Embrace and promote an intercultural solidarity that supports local initiatives ensuring the continuity, stability and development of Francophone and Acadian communities rooted in their environment across Canada. In other words, begin now to nurture within yourself a concern for all aspects of humanity, including language.