Beautiful day, world’s ending!

COP 27 QuoteBy Conor Curtis, Head of Communications, Sierra Club Canada

Last Saturday, the day before COP27 started in Egypt, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head. If you work in environmental communications then COP27 is a busy time of year, almost its own entity from a work perspective.

I got a shock when I went outside because I had massively overdressed – I wore a long sleeved shirt believing I was walking out into a cold November day. It wasn’t cold at all, it was hotter than many of the warmer days this spring.

I took in the sunlight, and made my way to a coffee shop, all the time feeling a weight on my mind at the back of my head.

When I arrived, and ordered, the manager, who I know pretty well, was behind the counter. We talked about the warmth outside and before I could even really think about it I said “beautiful day, world’s ending!” – slamming together two thoughts into the near approximation of a sentence, with the half-hearted smile of someone trying to make a joke at their own expense.

Because the weight at the back of my head was repeating over and over again that ‘it’s all happening too soon.’I’m not going to conjecture on the specific reasons for that hot day in the middle of November because it doesn’t really matter. The day was a reminder of the very real impacts of climate change – the storms, floods, and fires – that are hurting communities and taking lives all over the globe and here in Canada.

But what made me really angry was the moment of pessimism in my head, because pessimism is a luxury I’m not entitled to. Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s Gretchen Fitzgerald said it well recently in a blog that the obstacles we are facing because of climate change and biodiversity loss are considerable. Considerable but, as she points out, not impossible to overcome.

I’m inspired by the fact that the team I work with is actively fighting back against climate change, both here at home and at COP27 itself where our representatives Brynna Kagawa-Visentin and Aaron Mair are going to be pushing for policy change and more action by governments and corporations.It’s their efforts that help me put aside that weight at the back of my head, or at least lift it better. As Lauren Scott, Director at Large with SCCF wrote recently in a post we also need to get outside sometimes and to see the work that is being actively done to protect our environment by all those who care.

COP27 is a crucial moment in climate action and COP15, coming soon in Montréal, will also be critical.

Yes, it’s all happening too soon. But I want to take a moment to thank all of you working around the globe who are making change happen and helping us all be more hopeful about the future.

Things would be a lot worse already if it weren’t for people pushing for change.