TALONS DL Assignment #5 (English)

In-Class write on whether or not Human Rights are the Leading Factor Impeding our ability to react to Climate Change

This was an introductory assignment in the beginning of the school year to determine roughly how we (the class) write. we were given a question, and one class to write. The requirements included having a bibliography of at least 3 sources. and a quote from each one in the actual writing piece.


My work (in response to the question: “Do you agree that human rights are the single most important factor impeding our ability to act on climate change? If so, why? If not, what do you think is?).

Although human rights may in some aspect be impeding on our ability to act on climate change, I believe it is not the most crucial factor currently doing so. I say this because, more often than not, the people in power (and in this case the major ‘decision makers’) tend to be the ones receiving the ultimate ‘amount’ of human rights and privileges. And, if we assume the general stereotype that says all (most) politicians are more focused on short term problems effecting their immediate financial wealth and medical care, we can infer that human rights might not be the most urgent thing on our leaders’ to do lists. Therefore it probably isn’t the reason behind our countries’ inability to react to climate change effectively.

So what is the reason(s) behind our lack of positive initiation when regarding global warming? Well, to figure that out, you must first look at the political system as a whole. In Canada no given leader is guaranteed to be in power for more than four years. This fact could contribute to the absence of long-term planning when it comes to the environment. Unfortunately many politicians are funded by leading corporations that tend to use (and profit from) a large amount of fossil fuels and high carbon footprints. And since wealth determines how successful one is (especially in this day and age), the chances of a leader focusing on what ‘might be’ instead of ‘what is’ being elected is rare.

An article from CAUT (The Canadian Association of University Teachers) said to “Take, for instance, a report of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the federal agency tasked with reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report’s recent conclusion that we will make little to no progress — even in the best-case scenario — towards meeting our admittedly ambitious Paris accord reduction targets may come as no surprise as we witness expanding production out of Alberta’s oil sands.” This tells us that even though Canada is supposedly doing the best that they possibly can, our leaders haven’t actually stayed true to their word. Another example of not meeting expectations is the ‘go ahead’ to expand the trans mountain pipeline. According to a CBC News article, Trudeau claimed that “We have a national climate plan that will reduce our emissions and hit our 2030 targets in a way that also includes getting a better price for our oil resources that allows us to put the profits directly into the fight against climate change,” Obviously all these statements don’t add up. How can we be behind (even in the best-case scenario) on climate action and still be able to expand a pipeline that will almost certainly impact the environment in a negative way? On June 19th, 2018, Greta Thunberg (a Swedish climate change activist) tweeted “One second they declare a #ClimateEmergency and the next second they say yes to expand a pipeline.” Which, in my opinion, is well put.

Going back to the topic of Alberta’s oil sands, a National Geographic article published on May 3rd of this year stated that “This is the world’s most destructive oil operation—and it’s growing.” So why has Canada decided to continue this disastrous industry? Well, because of the immediate financial and economic benefits. 

So it might come as no surprise that the Germanwatch’s Climate Change Performance Index (as stated by a CAUT article) “…currently places Canada 52nd out of the world’s 58 top CO2 emitting nations, in a ranking that evaluates and compares the climate protection performance for the nations that are collectively responsible for more than 90 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions.” The real question now is does that really sound like progress?

In conclusion, I don’t believe that human rights are the leading reason preventing our country from taking action against climate change. I believe that the true reason is simply the lack of appeal. We’ve seen how politicians disregard the environment and the future because in their minds, everything is going great. They don’t realize that that is only a temporary state. If politicians would truly acknowledge the inevitable demise of our earth, or better yet, there was something powerful motivating them to do so, we might actually get somewhere. 


1) June, 2017. “The politics of climate change.” The politics of climate change. 01 June 1970. 01 Oct. 2019 <https://www.caut.ca/bulletin/2017/06/politics-climate-change-0>.

2) Willms, Ian. “This is the world’s most destructive oil operation-and it’s growing.” Alberta, Canada’s oil sands is the world’s most destructive oil operation-and it’s growing. 03 May 2019. 01 Oct. 2019 <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/04/alberta-canadas-tar-sands-is-growing-but-indigenous-people-fight-back/>.

3)“Greta Thunberg meets Trudeau, tells him he’s not doing enough to fight climate change | CBC News.” CBCnews. 27 Sept. 2019. CBC/Radio Canada. 01 Oct. 2019 <https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-greta-thunberg-climate-change-action-1.5299674>.



Three Digital Criteria I used:

  •  “I look[ed] at controversial issues or topics from opposed perspectives to gain a more complete understanding.” (no. 12)

In my in-class write I went over both sides of the argument. How human rights may be affecting our inability to act on climate change, but is not the most prevalent factor doing so. Although I focused on one side of the argument, I did not disregard the possibility that human rights are in fact playing some role in impeding our ability to act on climate change.


  •  “I attribut[ed] credit to ideas that are not my own by preparing a Bibliography/Works Cited and by using in-text citations.” (no. 13)

At the bottom my writing there is a bibliography (this is pretty self-explanatory).


  •  “I identify and discuss[ed] bias in research sources.” (no. 10)

I went over the biases of politicians when making decisions that won’t effect them in the way it will for future generations. Because of the way the government is structured, the environment isn’t exactly on everyone’s mind. In my piece I also discussed how promises were made (to stay true to the Paris accord reduction targets), but then a national pipeline had been approved for expansion. y


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