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Five kinds of environmentalists: which one are you?

By Pieta Woolley


For the most part, climate change has yet to catch up with most Canadians. Our homes are not underwater. Our fields reliably produce food. So how we express our environmentalism is still a matter of choice — for now.

In this month’s Observer, Kieran Delamont takes readers into the unappetizing world of bug eating — a logical response to the heinous environmental catastrophe that is the meat industry. As it turns out, eating crickets over, say, bacon, is quite the sacrifice although Delamont helpfully suggests cricket powder in soup as a more tasty protein. So far, though, cricket eating for most Canadians is a novelty, not a necessity.

So how are we showing our concern for climate change? How are we battling for the planet in our own lives?

Here are five kinds of Canadian environmentalists. Which one are you?

1. The urban intellectual


You live in a big centre, such as Toronto or Vancouver, and you keenly follow climate change news and international political reaction. No glacier falls into the sea or clause gets amended without your observation and commentary online. You may risk arrest at rallies. Your friends are slowly all becoming vegan.

You are reading: Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses and Citizens Can Save the Planet, by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope (2017)

Accomplishment: Letter published in the Globe and Mail pointing out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's stance on the oil sands is hypocritical

2. The nouveau hobby farmer

You are either under 30 or over 60, and have recently moved to an up-and-coming small town. Having “woke” from your former climate-killing lifestyle, you’re learning to raise chickens and grow beets on a three-acre plot. 

You are reading: Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption, by Ma’ikwe Ludwig (2017)

Accomplishment: The potluck’s most flavourful, kale-based casserole. 

3. The busy pragmatist

Your recycling bin runneth over. Your bokashi bucket is your pride. Your next car will be electric or will run on biofuel. But dammit, you’re raising kids and staying on top of your debt, as well as starting a side hustle and sitting on the board of your local community centre. You’ll finish saving the planet when you retire.

You are reading: Chatelaine’s March 2017 “Hearty salads, artful cheese boards and more no-cook recipes for Earth Hour.”

Accomplishment: Affording fair trade coffee and organic strawberries. 

4. The ambitious insider

You started out in environmental science but realized that in order to make a real difference, you’d need to work directly in the resource sector. Now, you are a highly educated applied scientist who hopes to improve practices in forestry, mining, oil and gas, fishing or agriculture. 

You are reading: One Planet Is Enough: Tackling Climate Change and Environmental Threats Through Technology, by Rune Westergård (2017)

Accomplishment: Well-managed tailings

5. The horrified witness

You live in a rural area and pay attention to the seasons because you are a hunter, fisherman, faller, berry-picker or researcher. You’ve seen, over time, that the weather is getting wilder, overall, the soil is becoming dryer, the fish are disappearing and the ice is getting smaller.

You are reading: Glacial Shifts, Changing Perspectives: Bearing Witness to Climate Change, by Diane Burko (2017)

Accomplishment: Adapting and sharing your knowledge with academics and the media


Author's photo
Pieta Woolley is a writer in Powell River, B.C.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
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