Five ‘Environmental Rights’ Questions with Miranda Jimmy

Photo Credit: Miranda Jimmy of RISE

Taken from Twitter: @TheMirandaJimmy

(https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/784904671211192320/V-ibhLp_.jpg)

Miranda Jimmy

RISE – Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton

https://www.facebook.com/RISEdmonton/

1) What would having constitutional environmental rights (e.g. the right to clean air, clean water, safe food, to access nature, etc.) mean to you, and/or your organization?

“I’m First Nations [Cree] so on a personal level it means a lot. You may have heard in the media about First Nations communities not having access to clean water, and although Northern Ontario receives a lot of attention, it recently came out that 90% of Alberta’s First Nations communities have been under a ‘boil advisory’ in the last 10 years. Not having access to fresh water is something that is hard to grasp for people […], so [constitutional environmental rights] would help bring awareness to these types of problems in [Canada].”

2) What do you think people in Edmonton can and/or should do to further the cause of environmental rights?

“First and foremost Edmonton is a government city. The decision makers of the province work here. So Edmontonians have good access to those people compared to those [living] in remote communities. So people in Edmonton have a responsibility, not to speak for those remote communities, but to be allies and bring their voice.”

3) What are you (or your organization) doing to further the cause of environmental rights?

“My organization is called RISE (Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton), where the idea of reconciliation means having a level of commitment from everyone involved…RISE aims to bring awareness not only to past reconciliation issues, but [also] current problems like water access, housing, education, [etc.]….again things most people in Canada take for granted. [With RISE] the simple thing we do that has a lot of impact is using social media to share news and stories on indigenous issues, and have people connect to us. [We want to] give people an opportunity to engage. If we can show that there is a present day issue, it creates a call to action to make a difference.”

4) 110 nations around the world recognize their citizens’ right to a healthy environment. Why do you think Canada hasn’t done this yet?

“I think there are two things. Firstly, it is change in the federal government going forward. Previously, both the Federal and Provincial [Conservative] governments had been complacent with environmental issues. Resource development trumped everything else…only focusing on the short term. Now more recently the LNG pipeline decision seems to make it clear that the Liberal government is taking a similar view. Secondly, as a society we take our environment for granted, Canadians think we have an endless supply of natural beauty and resources, maybe this is starting to change…but we as Canadians still cling to the idea of a vast wilderness.”

5) Would you be willing to sign the ‘Blue Dot Pledge”, joining the over 100,000 Canadians, and declare that you “[b]elieve every Canadian deserves the right to a healthy environment”? .

http://bluedot.ca/join-us/ 

“Yes, absolutely. I actually believe I already signed it.”

Photo Credit: RISE Logo —  Taken from Official Facebook Page –(https://www.facebook.com/RISEdmonton/photos/a.1452549211704840.1073741825.1452548438371584/1452549218371506/?type=1&theater)

You can learn more about Miranda Jimmy’s work with RISE on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RISEdmonton/ In addition, Ms. Jimmy is currently, running for City Councillor for Ward 5 — one platform is the access to green space. You can learn more about that here: http://mirandajimmy.com

~ Jacob Marchel