Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has told the world’s leaders that his government will look to Indigenous peoples for advice on how to properly care for the environment, during a speech at the United Nations Conference on World Climate Change, the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris this week.
The Canadian leader’s inspiring speech touted the environmental value of Indigenous culture, promoting Indigenous knowledge and skills as one of the keys to his country’s climate action plan.
Mr Trudeau said his government will work provinces, territories, cities and “Indigenous leaders who are taking a leadership role on climate change”.
“Indigenous people have known for thousands of years how to care for our planet,” said Mr Trudeau.
“The rest of us have a lot to learn and no time to waste.”
Mr Trudeau’s speech was made at the largest environmental gathering in history, held with the purpose of creating an international treaty to combat the threat of global warming.
“Indigenous people have known for thousands of years how to care for our planet."
Delivered in both French and English, the Prime Minister’s words about Indigenous peoples’ involvement in Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy fell on the ears of 150 world leaders and around 40,000 delegates gathered in the European city for COP21.
“We view climate change not just as the challenge it is, but also as a historic opportunity,” Mr Trudeau said.
“An opportunity to build a sustainable economy based on technology on green infrastructure and on green jobs. We will not sacrifice growth, we will create growth.”
The Prime Minister explained how the country’s goals would be implemented and stated that the Paris agreement should reflect the “new reality” the world faces.
He committed to greenhouse gas targets and a carbon price and told the world that Canadians will do their “fair share” to help their country meet its climate-change commitments.
“Canada is back, my good friends. And we’re here to help.”
The 21st COP2 will wind up in Paris on 11 December.