On Earth Day, UBCIC Calls for Emergency-Level Action on Climate and Environmental Protection

News Release
April 22, 2022

On Earth Day, UBCIC Calls for Emergency-Level Action on Climate and Environmental Protection

(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – April 22, 2022) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) calls on all people to commit to protecting our shared planet. The climate disasters experienced by communities across British Columbia over the past year have demonstrated beyond a doubt the severity of the climate crisis and the urgency required to mitigate the ongoing catastrophe to Earth and to our peoples.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated “It is not an exaggeration to call what is happening to our environment an existential threat to the safety of all human communities and non-human life, and one that requires a radical transformation of the prevailing status quo. Platitudes and incremental efforts to marginally reduce the impacts of this economy’s most destructive activities are not an acceptable substitute for immediate, decisive emergency-level action.”

“The violation of Indigenous Title and Rights, and the overexploitation of resources enabled by colonialism and capitalism, are major drivers of this planetary crisis and shape the inequalities of its impacts,” stated Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice-President. “UBCIC has long been adamant in asserting that fulsome respect for the Title, Rights, and Treaty Rights of Indigenous peoples is a critical part of addressing the intersecting issues of climate change, wanton pollution, biodiversity loss and the destruction of ecosystems.”

“There is clear direction from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and International Energy Agency to limit fossil fuel infrastructure to that which has already been built or planned in order to keep warming under 2oC over pre-industrial levels,” stated UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer Kukpi7 Judy Wilson. “Canada’s recent approval of the Bay du Nord oil project runs counter to any reasonable climate mitigation approach in light of the consensus opinion of the international scientific community. Rather than diverting funds to initiatives that will save lives and drastically reduce Canada’s outsized contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, provincial governments and the Government of Canada continue to lock in the country’s economic dependence on fossil fuels by supporting projects that do not have the free, prior, and informed consent of the Indigenous Nations that are directly impacted by their construction, let alone those whose rights may effectively be extinguished by the impacts of climate change on their territories.”

The onset of global warming that Indigenous peoples, scientists, activists, and academics have been warning governments and the public about is not an abstract future threat that can be addressed through incremental change. UBCIC calls on all levels of government to immediately take steps to align their mandates and actions with the safety of their constituents, the rights of Indigenous peoples, and the recommendations of the IPCC.

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Media inquiries:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 250-813-3315
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 778-866-0548

UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

For more information, please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca

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