Grandparents against gloom and doom

SCAN is an antidote to mounting doomism

In today’s battle between hope and despair over humanity’s chances of surviving climate breakdown, scientists are urging us not to succumb to ‘doomism’.

The latest UN report, like the two before it in the past six months, paints another dire picture of how close we are coming to climate collapse. It will take a herculean effort to reduce carbon emissions by the 43 per cent needed to avoid catastrophe, says the UNIPCC’s third report.

But scientists say this is no time to give up on Earth.

 “I refuse to write off or write an obituary for something that’s still alive,” says climate scientist Jacquelyn Gil. “We are not through a threshold or past the threshold. There’s no such thing as pass-fail when it comes to the climate crisis.”

In Canada, a powerful antidote to doomism is a growing movement of seniors prepared to fight for a future for their and others grandchildren.

Called Seniors for Climate Action Now (SCAN), the organization’s members represent a wealth of experience and expertise, and an all-in mindset. It’s currently gearing up to take its fight to the frontlines of Ontario’s next election in June.

SCAN has documented the systematic dismantling and destruction of environmental protections in the province since the election of Premier Doug Ford in 2018. Its report published earlier this month outlines 33 ‘climate crimes’ that have impeded the province’s progress towards reducing greenhouse gases and building a liveable planet: everything from promotion of new coal, attacks on carbon pricing, and lack of wetland protection to a free pass for big polluters, the ending of support for green power and a green economy, and the boost of big dirty nuclear.  

SCAN volunteer Jamie Swift of Kingston, ON says the group intends to shine a spotlight on “the appallingly negligent and ignorant Ford government” and its track record on environmental and climate issues.

Many of today’s young people despair that they’ve been abandoned by older generations who don’t have as much as a stake in the future.

SCAN wants to reassure them that increasing numbers of seniors are coming together to draw attention to the “fraudulent behaviour of the government” and escalate pressure on political leaders to take urgent action.  

“What separates our group from other activists is that we’re all over 70 and many of us have grandchildren,” says Swift, who has a five-month-old granddaughter Nora. “What we have to offer is our time and the deep concern we feel for the generations to come.”   SCAN’s mission couldn’t be clearer. “It’s all about what kind of world we want to bequeath to our children.”


photo courtesy of Creative Commons