The Green New Deal and a War Against Plastics.Posted: June 24, 2024

Many people know me as Rohan Jain, a third year philosophy student. However, I am also an environmental advocate and activist. For the past two years, I have been interning at Donnelly Law to take action against single use plastics, and to advocate for the adoption of a Green Deal that will transition Canada into a prosperous future.

War Against Plastics

In the summer of 2018, I began interning at Donnelly Law, an environmental law firm with a long history of helping clients generate new legislation, to work on drafting legislation that called for the banning of plastic bags and straws. This legislation is modelled on Prince Edward Island’s ban on plastic bags, the European Ban on plastics, the European plan for a Circular Economy, the Victoria Ban on Plastic Bags and Straws, California’s ban on plastic bottles, and many more. Through our advocacy, I had the opportunity to present my draft Bill called the Canadian Plastic Bag and Straws Reduction Act to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the former Minister of Heritage, Paul Rodriguez, and MP Ruby Sahota. This gave my legislation an unbelievable amount of exposure – which later led me to be featured on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup’s podcast to further discuss my legislation.

In 2019, I saw that the climate movement and the push for a plastic ban had increased to new heights, and decided to respond accordingly by working towards a ban on all single use plastics. I continued interning at Donnelly Law to redraft the legislation that called for a phased ban of all single use plastics. The phased ban is as follows

  1. Bags and Straws banned by 2021 (special accommodations for those with disabilities)
    1. Cutlery and Containers by 2023
    2. Plastic bottles by 2025
    3. Grocery and Dry-Cleaning wrapping by 2030
    4. Food, candy, and all single use plastic wrappers by 2035.

The legislation also calls for the creation of a MaRS for Environment (MFE). The goal of MFE is to bring various industry sectors together such as medicine, entrepreneurship, education, and technology to solve problems and develop environmentally friendly solutions to our biggest problems. As we continue into a green future, the government can issue an ideal deadline, and offer incentives to the private sector to commercialize and develop environmentally friendly solutions. The United Nations have declared plastics one of the largest threats to human existence. They pollute our skies, reduce our oxygen levels, devastate our eco-systems, damage our water supply, and can have devastating impacts on human health. Climate change is an issue that impacts us all, and taking action against single use plastics is a small, but significant step in taking action against climate change.

Green New Deal

At the same time, I always wanted to attack more than plastics – specifically, the underlying issues that prevent Canada from transitioning into a green economy. The data shows that failing to sufficiently innovate and foster of a green economy will pose disastrous economic, social, health, and environmental impacts on our society.

We are currently watching the climate crisis occur in front of our very eyes, and it will have significant impact on our society. Consequently, those countries who have better responses to the climate crisis will fare better than others. Other regions, notably in Europe are already ahead of the game, and soon will Biden’s America through his ambitious climate plans. Canada is at a relative disadvantage, and as a result, have to be ‘ahead of the game’.

In a nutshell, Rohan’s Green Deal provides a framework that aims to transform Canada into a competitive green economy. The framework emphasizes on making new jobs, a just transition plan and scientific and evidence based research.

The plan advocates for sustainability. This means that every aspect of our lives is interconnected – in other words, the environment impacts our public transit, our approach to privacy, education, and vice versa. This plan advocates for collaboration between the private and public sectors to ensure a united Canada.

Some of the highlights of the deal include:

  1. A phased just transition plan from oil and gas into one built on renewable energy and the environment.
  2. Invest and Leverage the private sector, including MFE to strengthen Canada’s manufacturing industry in areas such as electric cars, technological development and PPE.
  3. Invest in eco-tourism.
  4. The creation of a national supply chain that facilities the reuse and repurposing of materials.
  5. A transition plan that calls for innovative business plans targeted towards fashion, beauty and similar industries.

Rohan’s Green Deal is ultimately a call for action – targeted towards the private and public sector to work together to transform Canada into a competitive, sustainable future. At the end of this article, I will attach the Green New Deal and the Legislation.

I hope to have your support in my goals, our goals, for a better future for all of us.