This is the coldest summer of the rest of your life

‘This is the coldest summer of the rest of your life’ r1 ... Subscribe to this newsletter The Narwhal's masthead logo BECOME A MEMBER Smoke-filled skies seen near Kamloops Residential School, Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc territory
Record-breaking temperatures. Raging wildfires. A town destroyed. Hundreds of heat-related deaths.

The climate crisis can sometimes feel like an abstract discussion. These past few weeks? Anything but.

“This is the hottest summer of my life,” Bart Simpson says in a meme that’s been making the rounds. Homer’s response: “This is the coldest summer of the rest of your life.”

The Simpsons meme: Homer and Bart chatting heat wave
It’s a dire situation. But there is a sliver of good news: “There’s literally nothing like an extreme heat wave to galvanize public concern over climate change,” journalist Arno Kopecky writes in this opinion piece for The Narwhal.

The question now is: what will we do? Arno says it starts by talking — with our friends, with our elected leaders — about what we’re going to do about it.

So that’s exactly what reporter Fatima Syed set out to do when she headed to Hamilton, Ont., to interview federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna. A leading figure in the Trudeau government, Canada’s second-longest serving environment minister is now preparing to exit politics.

Catherine McKenna (left) chats with reporter Fatima Syed. Photo: Christopher Katsarov Luna
They chatted at Pier 4 Park in McKenna’s hometown as a wildfire tore through Lytton, B.C. Fatima wanted to know: has the federal government done enough to prepare for the dire and deadly consequences of climate change?

“Time is not on our side,” McKenna acknowledged. “What we’re seeing now, it has to be a wake-up call for everyone, including provinces who have to be part of the solution.”

Fatima also asked about the elephant in the room: the federal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline — and the argument that by directing any profits to clean energy initiatives, the project could help with the transition to renewables.

While McKenna didn’t respond directly to that question, she did offer a warning to oil and gas companies that they’re “going to be gone like the dinosaurs” if they don’t shift quickly to clean energy.

It’s a whirlwind of an interview, with McKenna reflecting on her dealings with oil and gas (“maybe I could’ve been more blunt”), working with conservative premiers (“they doubled down so we doubled down”), why she left politics (“my kids and climate change”) and what may come next (the need to tackle a “global issue”).

What more can be done to tackle this crisis? Well, this conversation offers the kind of frank glimpse into the political decision-making world that I haven’t read in quite some time.

Take care and push for change,

Arik Ligeti
Audience engagement editor

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This week in The Narwhal

On the ground with Lytton wildfire evacuees

The Pil’alt Canoe Family, or River Spirit Canoe Family, sing and drum in a circle with members of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation By Amy Romer
Meet the people rallying to support displaced residents with food, housing and spiritual healing. Read more.

Canadian governments have spent $23 billion supporting three pipelines since 2018: report

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney greets Keystone XL pipeline workers in July 2020 By Sharon J. Riley
A new report finds Canadian governments have provided billions to support pipelines — none of which have been completed to date — even as experts worry pipelines themselves undermine progress on climate goals. Read more.

The time for U.S. oil and gas companies to pay for environmental devastation may be near

Illustration of gasoline jug on top of land By Chris McGreal
An unprecedented wave of lawsuits in the U.S. aim to hold big oil and gas companies accountable for aggravating the climate crisis and covering up what they knew. Read more.

What we’re reading Globe article: B.C.’s heat wave and fires were driven by climate change, and they won’t be the last. What must we do next? Tyee article: The future of fire in Canada Be like Krystin, get rewarded
When we shared the news of our big Ontario launch plans, and asked y’all to help spread the word, we knew we could count on some keeners. But nobody stepped up quite like Toronto’s Krystin Arneson, who has managed to get 76 friends and counting to sign up for our newsletter! Yes, you read that right: 76 new folks who are going to be reading The Narwhal’s journalism thanks to Krystin’s efforts.

Okay, 76 is a lot. But if each of you convinces just three friends to sign up, we’d be welcoming 150,000 new Narwhals into our pod. Did we mention each referral gets you an entry to win a cabin getaway and three referrals nets you a sweet Narwhal tote bag?
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