Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks on World Environment Day
Thank you, Catherine. World Environment Day really is the perfect time to thank you for all your work as Minister for Environment and Climate Change.
I also want to thank Vance Badawey as well as Erik Solheim, who we heard from, who’s the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, for being here today and for joining us on the water.
Erik, when I found out that the theme of this year’s World Environment Day was Connecting People to Nature, I figured this was a good way to show that as global hosts Canada is all in.
And of course I want to thank all the young people who joined us, and the Palmer family for making sure that we had everything we needed for this morning’s paddle. Thanks, everyone, because any day I get to kick off with a paddle is a great day in my books.
I think Catherine did a great job of sharing why World Environment Day is so important to Canada and to the entire planet. What I want to talk about is something a little different. I want to issue a more direct challenge to Canadians, to follow through on today’s theme to get outside and to connect with nature, really connect with it. I’m talking about feeling the sun on your face, the warmth of the wind, the coolness of the water.
If you have children, take them with you. If you don’t have children, I’m sure you have friends with kids who would be happy to lend them to you for a day.
What I am asking you to do is go outside and come in contact with the environment we’re fighting for, because no fight is more important than the one we are waging to protect this planet for us and for future generations.
Now I don’t want to offer false hope, because the truth is we can’t turn back the clock. We can’t cool the atmosphere. That damage is done, damage that was set in motion generations ago. But neither should we be discouraged because the future is still bright for those who have the courage to confront hard truths and the confidence to stay the course. Canada will not back down from our commitment to fight climate change.
And we are not alone. Around the world nearly every country is on our side. Business is on our side. Science is on our side. And together our efforts will make a difference.
Here in Canada, we are working hard to respond to the threat of climate change and help the people and communities that will be the most affected by it. We will also continue to make investments that foster a clean growth economy because the health of our economy and the health of our kids both depend on it.
To those of you who are feeling worried today, worried about our planet’s future and what that means for you and your family down the road, I want you to know that we hear you. Canada hears you. We share your concerns and we know that inaction is not an option. We can’t walk away from the reality of climate change and we won’t walk away from a global plan that has a realistic chance of fighting it. We have a responsibility to future generations and we will uphold it.
We have a chance to build an economy that is clean, that is growing, that is forward-looking and we will not let that opportunity pass us by. And to young people I want to say this. It’s not just the future of the planet that we’re fighting for, we’re fighting for you, for your future. It’s okay if you feel a little discouraged from time to time. I get it. But know that the future is not cast in stone. You still have a chance to turn the frustration you’re feeling and turn it into something positive, something that can’t be undone or doubted or denied. The better world will not come to us without a fight, but it’s a fight we’ll win because it’s a fight we have to win. And like everything Canadians do, we’re going to win it together.
Thank you very much, everyone. Thank you very much.