APTN National News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a speech in Paris that Indigenous people can teach the world how to care for the planet.
Trudeau was speaking Monday at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP21, in Paris.
While outlining the principles on which Canada will base its climate action plan, Trudeau included a reference to the importance of working with Indigenous people.
He said Indigenous people are taking a leadership role on climate change and that Indigenous knowledge could be helpful in dealing with the issue.
“Indigenous peoples have known for thousands of years how to care for our planet,” said Trudeau. “The rest of us have a lot to learn and no time to waste.”
He also said the government will work with provincial and municipal leaders to create clean growth.
Trudeau invited premiers and environmental leaders to attend the event a few weeks ago.
Last Thursday, just four days before the start of the UN gathering, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said he accepted an invitation from environment minister Catherine McKenna to join Canada’s official delegation to COP21.
Bellegarde had already been scheduled to attend with the International Indian Treaty Council’s North American Indigenous delegation which is funded by the United Nations Development Programme.
Outlining principles to take on climate change, Trudeau said Canada will act on advice based on scientific evidence and committed to providing funding to developing nations most affected by climate change.
He also expressed support for implementing policies that will contribute to the development of a low carbon economy, which will include carbon pricing.
“It’s the right thing to do, for our environment, economy and as part of the global community.”
He said climate change is more than a challenge, but an historic opportunity.
“An opportunity to build a sustainable economy based on clean technology, on green infrastructure and on green jobs. We will not sacrifice growth, we will create growth,” he said.
Over 40,000 people from around the globe, including 150 world leaders, are gathered in Paris this week. COP21 is the largest environmental gathering in history where an international treaty is projected to be created to take steps to globally combat the threat of global warming.
Canada is warming at twice the global rate and the Arctic region is being hit the hardest, according to Environment Canada scientists.