Climate talks in Paris, a Q and A with Tantoo Cardinal

Actress and activist Tantoo Cardinal is at the talks in Paris talks to APTN National News about the experience.

Brandi Morin
APTN National News
Since the end of November, thousands of people have been in Paris trying to work out a deal on climate change.

The talks wrap up Friday.

Scientists say it’s imperative that countries around the world come up with a plan that will hold the warming of the earth to 2 degrees celcius.

Actress and activist Tantoo Cardinal is at the talks in Paris.

APTN’s Brandi Morin reached her and asked a few questions about what was going on at the talks.

APTN: What brought you to Paris to participate in the COP21?

TC: I have been a judge on the Rights of Nature Tribunal since 2013 in Quito Ecuador.  I was here to help wrap up the case on The Great Barrier Reef.  It’s a people court so the power lies with The People.  It’s not a case of, for example The Supreme Court handing down a judgement.  But it opens up the discussion, the psychology, and the reality that we, as people, are responsible for the world that is meant for us.

APTN: You’re from Fort McMurray, Alta. the epicentre of oil sands industry extraction projects in Canada. What dangers related to climate change does this industry pose to people and the environment?

TC: Scientists were unmuzzled, and the first thing we learn is that Alberta has contributed the most heat thereby the biggest contribution to the melting of the Glaciers of anywhere else in Canada… as a starter. That is only the tip of the ice berg, so to speak.  For me, a non-scientist, there is untold horror in the fact that this gaping hole and the poisons it has unleashed into our waters is causing a true blue cancer for Mother Earth.  Look at that hole – what would that mean to a human body?  Our bodies tell the story of Our Earth – Ft. McKay, for example, carries the story of the sickness She has.

APTN: Do you think people are asleep to the realities of the threats of climate change?

TC: I think many are asleep.  I think many are afraid to really look at the reality.  I think there are people who don’t believe, who don’t understand the horror we are manifesting for our children.  I don’t use 7th generation in this case because I’m not sure there will be one.

APTN: Right now Indigenous groups are lobbying world states in Paris for the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the Paris Agreement. Why is this inclusion important in the global effort to mitigate climate change?

TC: Within Indigenous Peoples is the idea that Mother Earth has Rights, that She has Laws… this is what needs to be understood so that we can truly begin the process of Climate Change.  Without it we are At Best merely treading water… water that is rising so quickly the permafrost is melting noticeably.

APTN: Are you hopeful that the final agreement will be successful in addressing climate change?

TC: No.

APTN: What can people do at home or in their communities to ease climate change?

TC: Educate themselves.  Organize so that their family, their home, their street, their road, their community, their children….ease climate change.  It begins within and can spread very quickly.  There are so many ways, products, and armies of people to work toward that which we need to be doing.

APTN: How important is the role of Indigenous People in helping to heal the earth?

TC: We have a responsibility.  We are keepers of the land, water, air- keepers of the blue print… we still have the wisdoms, the philosophies, the stories, prayers, songs, dances, – most other cultures have lost theirs.  We can encourage people to find their particular expression of relationship with mother earth. Do well.  Be true.  Love is the answer.

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