Letters, Oct. 1: The real work on climate change starts with each of us


Over 100,000 people concerned about the state of the Earth’s climate converged on Vancouver City Hall last Friday as part of a global initiative to bring attention to the environment.

Jason Payne / PNG

Naturally, I was delighted to see so many young people taking climate change seriously, and I truly hope they continue the hard work ahead.

However, my enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by reality. After watching the very prescient movie WALL-E a few years ago — the story of a little robot left on Earth to clean up the mess humanity made — I was disheartened to note that not a single audience member bothered to pick up their popcorn and drink containers when exiting the theatre. They had been entertained, but learned nothing.

I hope that all the marchers might consider keeping their iPhones, laptops, X-Boxes and such a lot longer than the marketers would prefer, especially given that 350,000 phones are discarded daily in North America, and most of the stylish clothes we all seem to need each season are not recyclable.

While pressuring our politicians is necessary, the real work starts with each of us.

Gorm Damborg, Vancouver

Climate march was no gimmick

The people who marched Friday in Vancouver showed their deep concern for global warning, climate change and the environment.

Perhaps, leaders locally, provincially and federally will truly listen and implement measures that will have healing effects. Hurricanes, floods and forest fires are the results of our selfish actions over past decades and centuries. 

The canaries are singing: Orcas, salmon, caribou and many other species worldwide are threatened.

The climate march was not a gimmick. Let us find solutions to the problems we created. We must come together, cooperate and reach consensus.

Kathleen Szabo, Vancouver.

It’s about time

Finally, climate change is getting the attention it deserves. I was heartened to see The Vancouver Sun’s pictures of hundreds of thousands of people from across Canada who are ready to change how we treat our planet.

If each of us individually is willing to do our own small part, we can have a huge cumulative effect on the Earth’s future. Pledging to have no more than two children (or one child and one pet), staying in our lovely neighbourhoods instead of traipsing the world, and alleviating consumerism as recreation are personal choices that will most certainly make our world a better place for future generations.

Kudos to all who recognize that a solution starts with each of us individually.

Doris Schellenberg, Abbotsford

Changing the status quo

September is when we celebrate the employment of people with disabilities, as highlighted in the recent article, “Untapped talent pool is key to British Columbia’s future” by Ross Chilton. True, many people with disabilities continually face barriers to employment. Thus, there’s been a push to increase the awareness of employers in their hiring practices. However, here are two other perspectives:

First, individuals with disabilities are similar to the rest of the population — some have skills and capabilities for the labour force, others don’t. Everyone has the ability to learn, though some may need support. Unfortunately, assumptions and stereotypes still exist — people with disabilities aren’t capable to learn, thus others have low expectations of them. As a result, some miss out from learning basic protocols, appropriate mannerisms, or creative strategies supporting them in the workforce. We must work together, creating an environment where all feel valued and belonged.

Second, I observe that many leadership and management positions in organizations for people with disabilities, are filled by able-bodied (and white) people. Rarely, we see a person with a visible disability in the role. Why? If we want to increase the employment rate of people with disabilities, then I believe it is the responsibility of disabled organizations to lead the way. Having able-bodied people in these positions emphasizes the power dynamics and perpetuates the stereotypes of individuals with disabilities always needing help. Placing a person with a disability in a leadership role challenges the status quo and shifts the perception of disability.

Karen Lai is an independent consultant in accessibility and inclusion.

Letters to the editor should be sent to sunletters@vancouversun.com. The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at gclark@postmedia.com.

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