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Seth Klein on Mobilizing for the Climate Emergency, and the Lessons of WWII

By Price Tags Media Society

“There is a time coming, in our lives, when the tap of natural gas into our homes and into our city is going to be turned off. It’s not tomorrow — we have time to make adjustments.” As follow-up to his interview with Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle (Episode 19) — mover of a unanimously-approved motion to declare a climate emergency — Gord wanted to speak to one of the ‘generals’ working on a solution to coming disaster. Someone with the knowledge, experience, and character to not just define the nature of the challenge we face in the coming decades, but to take on the mantle of leadership. Whether Seth Klein is one of those generals is not yet clear, but he certainly seems to be writing the battle book. The now-former BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives —he actually founded the progressive think tank’s west coast chapter in 1996 — Klein has identified some compelling parallels between the effort made by the Canadian government and industry between 1939 and 1945 to mobilize behind the war effort, and what may be required to keep this ship we call Western civilization afloat today. With little doubt that drastic measures are needed, Klein believes the responses of countries like Canada during the Second World War are not just instructive, but likely instructive and maybe even necessary in this time of existential crisis. What were those responses? There were many. They were mandated, legislated. And no person, no institution, was immune. This conversation isn’t just a sneak preview of his upcoming book — it’s a conversation about a similar challenge we faced 80 years ago, how we faced it, and whether we can do it again today. Read more »

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