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BC Library Conference 2020

Closing Keynote: Seth Klein - Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency

Friday, April 17, 2020 at 3:45 PM–4:45 PM EDT
Britannia Ballroom
Session Description

Generously Sponsored By: CUPE BC

Seth will offer a preview of his forthcoming book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (due out fall 2020). He argues we need to approach the climate crisis with a new mindset – as an urgent threat requiring a wartime-scale emergency response. Seth explores how we can align our politics and economy with what the science says we must do to address the climate crisis. But he brings an original and uniquely hopeful take to this challenge. The book is structured around lessons from World War Two – the last time Canada faced an existential threat. Others have said we need a “wartime approach” to climate change, but this is the first book to delve into what that could actually look like. Canada’s WWII experience, Seth contends, provides an inspirational reminder that we have done this before. We have mobilized in common cause across class, race and gender, and entirely retooled our economy in the space of a few short years. Weaving together history, politics and policy, the book jumps between our past and present, answering questions such as: What did the marshaling of all our economic and human resources look like during WWII, and what might a similar deployment look like today? How was it paid for? What kind of leadership did it require? How was public support and national unity secured? What was/is the role of Indigenous people and youth, then and now? What did we do for returning soldiers, and are there lessons for just transition for fossil fuel workers today? And what are the war’s cautionary tales, the warnings of things that brought us shame, that we do not wish to repeat? The book is an invitation to both the public and our political leaders today, to reflect on the people who saw us through WWII, and to consider who we want to be, as we face down the defining task of our lives.

About Seth:
Seth Klein served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is now a freelance researcher, writer, consultant and speaker, and an adjunct professor with Simon Fraser University’s Urban Studies program. He is currently writing a book on mobilizing Canada for the climate emergency. Seth is a founder and served for eight years as co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a network of over 50 community organizations in BC campaigning for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in BC. He is a founder and served for 10 years on the advisory committee of the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families campaign (and was co-creator of the methodology for calculating the living family wage, now used in about three dozen Canadian communities). He is an advisory board member for the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance. And he is a founder, advisor and instructor for Next Up, a leadership program for young people committed to social and environmental justice.