This is one of the 26 segments of Guy Dauncey’s Climate Emergency: A 26-Week Transition Program for Canada. Excerpted by permission.
A proper scientific understanding of the climate emergency and its solutions is essential for all Canadians as we tackle this massive challenge. To this end:
- We will ensure that Canadian scientists continue to receive the research funding needed to understand the climate and ecological emergencies.
- We will work with the provinces to ensure that starting in September 2020, all school students will study solutions to the climate and ecological emergencies for one hour a week. Model: Italy has made sustainability and climate crisis compulsory subjects. Italian state schools will incorporate the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into as many subjects as possible from September 2020, with one hour a week dedicated to themes including the climate emergency and humans’ influence on the planet. Other subjects will also be taught from the perspective of sustainability. Italy’s Ministry of Education is being changed to make sustainability and climate the centre of its educational model.
- Starting in Fall 2021, a Certificate in Ecology and Climate Solutions will be required for university entrance. Institutions that do not comply will not receive federal research grants or other funding.
- We will provide $50 million in Climate 101 Curriculum Development Grants, including teacher training and rollout. Cost: $50 million one-off (#9)
- School buses: Ontario (with 40% of Canada’s population) has 18,000 diesel school buses, so Canada may have 45,000. Electric school buses cost $120,000 more than diesel buses, but the California Energy Commission has estimated that schools will save nearly $120,000 in fuel and maintenance per bus over 20 years, with added health benefits. To enable every school board to switch to 100% electric school buses by 2030 we will create an Electric School Bus Purchasing Pool, providing $540 million a year in interest-free loans. This expands on our current commitment to help school boards and municipalities purchase 5,000 zero-emission school and transit buses by 2025. Cost: $540 million per year (#10), less the cost of the existing commitment.
- We will convert the Canada Youth Service Corps to the Canada Youth Green Team and expand it to offer 5,000 jobs paying $30,000 a year by 2022, with a focus on climate, environment, and ecological restoration. Cost: $160 million per year (#11)
- We will expand our Learn-to-Camp Program to reach 400,000 kids each year, adding climate and ecological learning to basic camping skills. Already budgeted under existing plans.
- To ensure that Canada’s future politicians, economists, civil servants, lawyers, engineers, architects, business leaders, journalists, and others have sufficient understanding of the economics of the climate emergency, we will encourage all Economics and MBA courses taught in Canada to include a module on climate science and solutions. Starting in September 2021, institutions that do not comply will not receive federal research grants or other funding. By January 2022, every economist hired by the federal government will be required to have completed such a module.